Three Things Never to Say To a Special Needs Parent
Recently the team at The Gravely Group had a lively discussion about the stressors of families with children with disabilities who participate in early learning programs.
We wanted to give some suggestions to assist your day-to-day interaction with your special needs families. All of the following examples of things not to say come from things that have actually been said to someone on our team or special needs parents we have supported in the past.
“He looks fine to me.” Or “You would never know to look at her.”
If someone tells you that his or her child has any type of disability or challenge, the correct response is never to downplay this child’s challenges by suggesting that they don’t really exist or at least that they are not apparent to you. This comment was a big hot button issue for many parents.
“My uncle’s brother’s nephew’s cousin has autism, so I know what it’s like.” Or “My nephew’s cousin has autism, too.”
Just like any other child, this child is unique. Please don’t presume to understand all there is to know about a child you just met simply by knowing their age and gender. If you’ve met one child with autism, you have met one child with autism. If you are interested in what it’s like to live in the parent shoes, ask the parent in a kind and respectful way, at an appropriate time.
“God only gives you what you can handle.”
This one was another hot button issue for many parents. What if they can’t handle it, what if the parent is trying to tell you that they need help, what if they are falling apart or they know that something has to give? Parents are looking for your support as they navigate your early learning program.
Remember, if it takes a village to raise a typical child, it takes a large city to raise a special needs child. Support your families to ensure children with special needs receive the best services your program has to offer.
Tags: special needs