Talking to Your Children

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2 Responses

  1. Meredith Cheney says:

    I’m enjoying your blog a lot!

    I worked as a special education aide for several years and worked with lots of different students with lots of different disabilities. Legally, I was very limited in what I could say when kids asked, “Why is John different?” As a parent (I don’t have kids) you certainly have more opportunities to open up discussions and I’ve been curious to learn how parents do this.

    My nephew has a disability and he started kindergarten this year. I will be interested to hear from him, from my other nephew as well as my sister what their experiences have been, both good and bad, in trying to educate others about disabilities. I have always told kids that even when someone has a disability that makes them “different”, there are always more things about them that make them the same as everybody else.

  2. Meredith – Thank you for your comments. You are on the right track. While special educators certainly need to be mindful of privacy, there are many ways to discuss disabilities without being specific. Your approach to finding what is similar is great. Depending on your nephew’s diagnosis and how necessary it is for other kids to know about it, this could be a great opportunity to talk to a classroom. There are good age-appropriate books to start the conversation. It may also be interesting to hear how other kids would approach whatever difficulties he may face. “How would you participate in gym class if you couldn’t walk?” “How can we help Johnny when it’s time for reading?” Kids are so incredibly accepting. We have so much to learn from them. When my son started school, we made a book about him so kids could get to know him even though he doesn’t speak. I hope all goes well for your nephew this year and your sister is lucky to have you with her on this journey.

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