How to Parent Children with Disabilities
All children, including those with disabilities, need love, respect, nurturing, and time.
1. Keep your child safe.
- Keep emergency contact numbers where you can easily see it, like on the refrigerator
2. Be supportive, empathetic, and loving.
- Your child may not have the same support they usually have, and this can lead to additional challenges such as increased stress, anxiety and frustration
- Use physical and verbal support to make your child feel accepted and loved
- Positive body language gestures, and words make a big difference!
3. Communicate with your child.
- Get down to your child’s level when communicating with your child
- Maintain eye contact and a positive attitude
- Take your time to allow your child the space to communicate
- Observe, listen to, and confirm that you understand your child
4. Reinforce the positive.
- Reinforce your child’s strengths with praise and highlight their abilities rather than the things they cannot do
- Only help children when they need it. Too much support denies them the chance to become independent and can feel patronising
5. Ask for help when you can.
- Share the load with other adult family members
- You are not alone! Keep connected with people who understand your situation. Share your challenges AND your successes
- It is normal to feel stressed, frustrated, and afraid at this time
- Be kind to yourself and take a break when you need to!
6. Strengthen routines.
- Routines help children feel secure and safe.
- Create a daily routine with activities that are familiar to your child and include some of their favorite activities
- Help your child connect to friends and daily members via phone chats writing cards or drawing pictures
- Provide your child with choices so that they have a sense of control. This also increases self-esteem
- Use simple language and clear instructions and nonverbal communication for children who need it (for example: gestures, pictures, visual aids)
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