How to Care for a Child with Special Needs

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Children are a blessing. The world however takes a different approach when it comes to children with special needs. A child with special needs will need more love and care than others. If you’re a parent or a care giver to a child with special needs, the below information and tips will help you:

The Three Most Common Conditions Are:

Autism

Autism is a developmental disorder that makes it hard to communicate or interact with other people. Some kids have autism that is mild others have autism that is severe.

Children with autism can have trouble understanding subtle directions and requests. They may become overwhelmed by busy and noisy environments. And, sometimes they do not enjoy being touched.

Because every kid is different, as a parent and caregiver you need to understand the child’s likes/dislikes and needs.

Things you must know/learn:

  • Follow the child’s routine, especially at bedtime or mealtime.Kids with autism prefer structure and can get upset if routines are different from what they’re used to.
  • If you’re a caregiver ask the parents about the child’s favorite toys so you can play with them.Go slowly; one tactic is to sit alongside the child and mimic his/her play. That might attract his/her attention and lead him to join you.
  • Don’t be offended if the child decides to play alone or limits interactions with you.This is part of the disorder.
  • Maintain a calm environment.For example, skip a trip to the playground when you know a crowd is likely there. Avoid bringing your friends or other people the child may not know into the home.

As long as the child isn’t hurting himself/herself or anyone else, it’s best to roll with the tantrum. Keep the child safe and close to you. If the child starts to settle down, you might bring out a favorite toy and start playing with it to create a distraction.

Some children with autism might calm down when cuddling a special stuffed animal. Others might respond well to sitting in a rocking chair with you or swinging on the backyard swing set. You need to watch and learn him/her.

Down syndrome

Down syndrome is a condition in which extra genetic material causes delays in the way a child develops, both mentally and physically.

Like other children with developmental delays, kids with Down syndrome often seem younger than they are. Their skills are often behind those of other kids, but they may enjoy the same types of toys and games. You might need to adapt to play at their level of understanding.

  • Find something the child enjoys.Just like other kids, babies with Down syndrome enjoy brightly colored toys and toys that make noise or play music. Toddlers can work on building blocks or play pretend. School-aged children like playing games, crafting, and playing outside.
  • Children with Down syndrome sometimes have difficulty picking up small objects.Be patient and let the child try again.
  • Babies with Down syndrome may have weak neck muscles.Make sure you support the baby’s neck extra carefully when holding him or her.

 

Pay special attention to how the child expresses him/herself. For example, does he/she use pictures or sign language to communicate? Sometimes, all that kids with Down syndrome need is for someone to listen carefully. Be that support your baby needs.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Children with ADHD often have lots of energy and can get wound up quickly. Their attention span for activities might be shorter than that of other children, so plan many activities and use them as needed.

 

  • Children with ADHD are often quite creative.They may enjoy drawing pictures or building with blocks.
  • Active, outdoor games can be fun for children with ADHD. Try hopscotch, swinging, and jumping rope. But skip playing outside if it’s close to bedtime.
  • Wind down with quiet time at bedtime.Low-key activities, including watching a movie or sitting in a rocking chair and reading a book, can help all kids calm down for the night.

It might help to provide the child with a schedule of what you’ll be doing. Children with ADHD sometimes have trouble switching gears. Schedules will be a good thing for a child with ADHD.

Children with special needs can be very sweet and loving. If you’re a caregiver it’s a great babysitting experience to learn how to care for kids who have different abilities. If you’re a parent seeing the world through a special child’s eyes can change the way you look at life, make you a more compassionate loving human.

Information Sourced by: http://kidshealth.org/