I'm very lucky that my son has a wonderful school to go to, and a class where his abilities are allowed to develop and grow. Before my son came along, I was a lot less knowledgeable and educated about the challenges children with special needs can face in school and society. One of the biggest things I've learned is that while "labels" for various conditions do matter to some extent, each child with special needs is unique: an individual and not a label. I no longer fear the "labeling" of my child as much as I once did, mainly because I now understand that no label can ever capture or limit who he really is.
I follow Ellen Seidman's blog Love That Max, which is about her family, and her son Max who has cerebral palsy. A few years ago, Ellen compiled a wonderful list of tips titled: What to teach your children about kids with special needs.
If you have kids, and even if you don't, this is a great read.
- Please don't pity me
- Teach your kids not to feel sorry for ours
- Play up what kids have in common
- Help kids understand there are many forms of expression
- Know that making friends with a kid who has special needs is good for both kids
- Encourage your kid to say "hi"
- Encourage kids to keep talking
- Keep explanations simple
- Teach kids respect with your actions
- Help kids see that kids who can't talk still understand
- Kick-start the conversation
- Don't worry about embarrassment
- Find Ellen's blog at: Love that Max
- Mama Be Good - written by Brenda who blogs and writes about (and I quote): "Parenting, Shoes, Autism, Coffee, Kids, Shoes, Unschooling, Shoes."
- Herding cats - A wonderful blog about raising kids, including a child with special needs.
- Along came the bird - A great blog about raising kids and being a parent.