Living with a child with a disability can be challenging at times, whether the disability is physical or intellectual. Extra care must be taken for children with disabilities, which may include more doctors’ visits than the average child, special diets, physical therapy either at home or at a physical therapist’s office and special education classes.
In addition to the obvious, the parent of a child with a disability must also deal with the emotional side of things. Children at school can and do say things that might hurt someone’s feelings. A child without a disability may shrug it off or may even fight with their taunter, but a child with a disability may be confused and hurt, not realizing that other children taunt everyone and she or he is not being singled out. Also, some adults do not know how to act around children with disabilities and may stare or point, causing the child with the disability to feel uncomfortable and unaccepted.
The best thing a parent can do is to explain to the child that people do not understand and sometimes do not think about hurting another’s feelings. If the school allows it, parents of children with disabilities may be able to set up an educational seminar where parents of children with disabilities speak about the various afflictions such as cerebral palsy, having to use a wheelchair, blindness, deafness, and brain damage and how it affects the ability to learn. Parents can also give students tips on how to help a child with a disability—whether it is help reaching something, help getting up a hill in a wheelchair or help with schoolwork.
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|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|