There has been a recent focus on special needs children as our social support systems begin to realise that these children need our help to build a nurturing environment in order for them to grow up into independent adults. Even though the government and social network are stepping up to increase the help provided to special needs children, it is still the parents who play the most important part in the lives of these children.
The task of managing special needs children can be magnified if you are a single parent. However, it is possible to do it alone as long as you find the right attitude and balance your time appropriately between your child, work and other commitments.
Children need love, encouragement and support. Special needs children need even more of all three factors to help them develop a strong sense of self-worth, confidence in their abilities and the determination to keep going when all else seem to fail. Your job as parent is to help them to see their own self-worth, not to try and “cure” their disability or even to try and make things easier for them. By providing your child with the proper social and emotional tools to help him or her learn, your child will grow stronger and more resilient when he or she becomes an adult.
Here are some tips in teaching and nurturing a special child.
1) Keep things in Perspective
Always remind yourself that everyone faces difficulties in life. Your child is not defined by some systems or labels that the society might place on him or her. It could be difficult initially to deal with the stares and gossips, but stay strong. Keep things in perspectives by telling yourself that your child needs you to tell him how to deal with life’s challenges. If you are not discouraged or overwhelmed easier, your child will mirror your behaviours and come out as a strong and confidence adult.
2) Be your own Expert in his or her disability
Your child may be diagnosed with certain learning disability. Instead of depending on authorities to tell you what to do, become your own expert in this field. Do your own research and keep up with new developments in disability programs in schools, therapies and also educational techniques. When you are equipped with the right knowledge, you will naturally know what to teach your child the best ways to deal with life’s challenges.
3) Be your child’s Spokesperson
You are the best spokesperson for your child. Keep open communications with your child’s teacher in school, even if you are extremely busy with all the different things you have to do. By asking for the necessary help that your child will need in school, you are paving the way for your child to learn in the most conducive manner possible. It may be frustrating to repeat the same things for the 10th times, but it is worth every effort that you put in.
4) Your Influence is always the Strongest
Remember that you have the strongest influence over your child. He or she will follow the way you approach and do things. If you show your child that you are optimistic and confident, he or she will likely be able to approach life in the same way. Find out what works best for your child and keep on doing what needs to be done for your child. For example, if your child has difficulty in reading, help him or her by reading to him first. Approach the learning disability with enthusiasm and show your child that it is ok to learn slowly. As time passes, your child will come to understand that it is ok to be slow as long as he is picking up the necessary skillset.
Teaching and nurturing your special needs children often boils down to one thing – amplify your child’s strengths. Your child may have some difficulties in doing certain things due to his or her disability, but he or she is not totally weak in all areas of life. Perhaps he or she is excellent in music. Encourage the talent in music and spend plenty of time to nurture that talent. The ultimate goal in educating a special needs child is to see him or her happy and contented with life and obtain the ability to earn a living as an adult.