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Friday, March 02, 2012

Tips For Teaching Your Children About Our Children

Ellen from Love That Max asked me if I would contribute to an article she was writing for Babble. The topic was what moms who have kids with special needs wanted other moms to know about teaching their kids about kids with special needs.

Each of the moms who contributed shared something about one specific point. My contribution was about conversations in general you (parents who don't have kids with special needs) can have with your children and how to start that conversation.

Check out What To Teach Your Children About Kids With Special Needs to read the full article and all the great advice from all the contributors.

My original piece was a bit longer than what was needed, so I'm sharing the rest of it here.

It's inevitable that kids notice differences about other people. There will come a time when your young child starts asking you questions about why someones skin is that color, or why that man is so big, or that lady so short, or why someone has no hair. Parents generally talk to their kids about these differences explaining to them that everyone is different and we are not all made the same and the world would be a boring place if we were!

When you're talking to your child about those differences include people who have disabilities as well. The next time you see a child with a disability or special needs at the playground, or in the store, or on TV, use that opportunity to explain to your child that they might have different abilities but you can probably find similarities as well. Just because a child is in a wheelchair, or can't run very well, doesn't mean they don't like to swing. It might take some kids longer to do things, but it doesn't mean they aren't trying their hardest or doing the best they can.

Teach your children that other children with disabilities are more alike them than they are different. Tell them that kids with special needs still like to have fun, and make friends, and have feelings and probably enjoy a lot of the same things - books, toys, music, tv shows. Teach your children that the 'golden rule' - to treat others how you want to be treated extends to those with special needs as well, because at the end of the day that's all we, as parents, want - for our kids to be accepted and valued as human beings just like kids without disabilities. 

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Anonymous said...

We've gone into the class and discussed DS, when she was younger she wasn't in the room and now she is, since we've had "the talk" with her too! It works out great. Plus, since we organized the Buddy Walk here, we have had people over for dinner and discussed, with the kids there, DS and what it is. I love it when people ask direct questions...

Anonymous said...

PS- forgot to say how much I loved what you had to say!

Anonymous said...

beautifully said. love mom