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Talking To Kids About Disabilities

Try to use clear, respectful language when talking about someone with disabilities. For a younger child, keep explanations simple, such as, "She uses a wheelchair because a part of her body does not work as well as it could".  Just as you guided your very young child when he or she began to befriend others, you can encourage your child to learn about and be a friend to children who have disabilities.

  • Encourage them to find common ground.No two people are alike, but everyone has something in common. Regardless of differences, it's important to encourage children to look for things that they can relate to in others. Finding common ground builds character and strengthens interactions between children.
  • Don’t just discuss weaknesses, point out strengths.Disability means they face challenges, but this does not make them devoid of strengths. Encourage their talents and cheer them on. Treat their strengths the same way you'd treat a non-disabled person's strengths.
  • Assume the best.Presume competence, and always err on the side of assuming that the child means well. Sometimes disabled children are assumed to be angry or disobedient when their disability is impeding their ability to move smoothly or process the demands being placed upon them
  • Teach them to ask questions and avoid assumptions. It's almost always okay to ask about the experience of a disabled peer. The key is to be considerate and respectful of when, where, and how those questions are asked. Everyone wants to be understood. When children learn to see beyond the mystery of a disability, communication and understanding can blossom.
  • Don't fear disability.It may be new to you, but to the person with special needs, it's a fact of life. Disability does not need to be scary
  • Bullying Is Wrong Full Stop! Because children with disabilities may look or act different from their peers, they become easy prey for bullying by other children. When talking to kids about disabilities, you’ll want to address cruelty and why hurting another person’s feelings on purpose is always wrong. If your child hurts another child’s feelings, teach her to apologize. Ask her how she would feel if someone said something or did something like that toher. Let her know that all people have feelings and all people deserve to be treated with kindness and
  • Lead by example. Parents always have the opportunity to teach by example. How do you feel about your child’s enrollment in a class with special needs peers? Do you welcome the thought of smaller class size when some students are away? Do you remember the total head count when planning for class treats? Your actions and words will tell your child how to respond to his classmates. So lead the way!

Builds Up their Immune System:
It’s no surprise that many children that are raised on, or around, a farm are generally healthier than those that aren’t. This is because on a regular basis these children are exposed to dirt, animals, pests, bacteria and everything else that send modern-day parents running. While we like to think that dirt, animals, pests and bacteria do more harm than good it’s actually the opposite. When your children come into contact with these things in a natural way (outside) and on a regular basis, they are less likely to develop autoimmune disorders and allergies.

Provides Exercise:
Playing outside provides children with something many children don’t get enough of anymore – exercise. Exercising while having fun is the best kind of exercise, and that’s exactly what playing outside does. Riding bikes, playing tag with friends, building a snowman, sledding, having snowball fights and other outside activities get our children’s bodies moving…something most video games can’t do.

Stimulates the Imagination:
Sadly, one of the things that today’s children are lacking is an imagination. This is because we’re in the technological age – today children are literally shown everything. Why go outside and play cops and robbers when we can watch a movie about it or play a video game? Playing outside helps children develop their imagination, which is something that television, video games, computers, iPods, etc. don’t do.

It Promotes Problem Solving Skills:
Children who play outside learn how to solve real life problems better than children who are always in their rooms playing video games or secluding themselves. Regardless of if they’re learning how to get along with friends or trying to figure out the best way to build a fort – they’re problem solving.

It Provides Vitamin D:
It’s important that your children get Vitamin D, which is provided by the sun. Vitamin D helps promote better moods, energy levels, memory, overall health and more. Just 10-15 minutes out in the sun will give your children their daily dose of Vitamin D.
It doesn’t matter if it is summer or winter outside, your children need everything listed above and playing outside is a great way to get them all at once! Obviously, if it’s blizzard-like conditions outside, your children should stay inside, but if it’s nice outside then bundle the kids up and let them play for half an hour or so.

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