Parents of children with special needs are saddled with much greater responsibilities, than with other normal children. It is important to provide them with adequate safety, protection and all levels of medical, environmental, physical and emotional comfort. Whatever comfort you give to your other children can be taken a notch higher, in the child with special needs, so that you can encourage their development.
Here’s how to help
Make learning as flexible as possible. If your child has learning disabilities, he or she can hardly concentrate for a long time. Also, the kind of environment where the learning takes place can cause a lot of distractions. Avoid noises so as to improve their hearing abilities.
Always be in touch and follow-up on your child’s activities daily. Connect to whatever they were taught in school during the day. If you stay in tune with what your child does, you can help them improve or broaden whatever new idea, skill, ability or communication they acquire.
Teach them with a mixture of pictures, colors, sounds and music so that you can capture their interests. Instead of muddling up words, you can blend them into a variety of songs so that the child can assimilate them. You can also use visual tools to create various learning systems. This will keep them attentive and create a balance for the adaptation of the new knowledge.
Take away every form of complexity in their daily activities. You might want to break down their to-do into insignificant portions. Special needs children may have a hard time with understanding complex instructions or compound sentences. Even if it requires drawing maps, charts or illustrations, employ them in making their activities smaller and fun.
Give the child a platform to succeed through the use of positive reinforcements, corrections, and constant guidance. Demonstrate to them, the right way to do things and explain why they have to do certain activities and different stages of the activity, as well as its benefits
Be polite in your interactions and communication. Don’t intrude into their thoughts, harass or interrupt them with questions. You might frighten them away or further push them into a shell. They might even become overly defensive and aggressive. Your approach at communication matters. You may want to keep a friendly stance, maintain eye contact, smile or possibly hold hands with the child or any form of body contact when trying to initiate conversations.
Accommodate. Even for your own child, you may run out of this ability, but you have to keep your eyes on the goal. Your child may make lots of demands that might sometimes be very inconvenient. This is not to say that you should give in to all the demands of your special needs child, but if you perceive that it is something or someone that can help with their development then make room for it. Make room for all the activities, varieties, concepts and learning styles.
Be consistent with whatever system you set up so that the child does not lose the sense of familiarity and mastery.
Don’t give up on yourself. You see, you need to be in the right frame of mind and body in order to assist your child’s needs. Don’t let your child’s disabilities turn you into a shadow of yourself or turn you into this straight faced person with no sense of humor. As much as you can, engage in things that make you happy. If possible, get someone who equally understands your child’s needs to help baby sit the child so you can get some rest and equally attend to your own needs. Make plans, have backup plans and a backup support system. Be careful not to lose yourself.
Stay positive. A positive attitude is the most important tool in raising a special needs child really. With a positive attitude and reinforcement, you can take your child from point zero to 50. If you are unable to do this, get someone who can and you will see the quality of improvement your child will make.
Above all things, you know your child more than anyone else, so follow your instincts with him or her. As long as you are connected, support and actively participate in their lives, they may reach their developmental milestones, though slowly but surely.