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talking to kids about "special needs" children wannaknow 2 kids; California 475 posts
23rd Nov '12

My son is in preschool, and there is a little girl who goes to school with him who has Rett's syndrome. He was just asking me all sorts of questions about why she doesn't talk, and about how she eats, etc.



I told him that she needs special attention to be able to grow and learn, and that we should be nice to her so that she will be able to learn and grow easier. I am wondering, for those parents with special needs children, is there anything else I should say to help him understand. He is not quite 5 yet, and I don't want to overwhelm him with facts, but at the same time I want him to treat her kindly. I have seen other older children make fun of special needs kids, and it really makes me angry at their parents for not teaching them better.



This little girl is nonverbal, she can't really feed herself. She does walk.

SavageDarling 3 kids; Webster, Massachusetts 10381 posts
23rd Nov '12

Watching.



My son hasn't been in daily contact with a special needs child but he has encountered them at playgrounds and such. If he asks about their different appearance or behavior I just tell him "everyone is born different and some people just need extra patience, kindness, and help to be able to learn and play." it's sufficed until now but I'd like to have a better insight as far as what I could tell him that would really be helpful.

B♥Z 2 kids; Williamsport, Maryland 14245 posts
23rd Nov '12

As a mother, with a daughter that has pretty bad speech delays, I am so glad you are talking to your son about special needs!



My DD is 3, can talk but most people cannot understand a word she says. Kids are mean. We've had a little boy ask her if she was "freaking speaking English" and push her down. Kids will tell her she can't play with them, etc. I feel terrible for her.

wannaknow 2 kids; California 475 posts
23rd Nov '12
Quoting B♥Z:" As a mother, with a daughter that has pretty bad speech delays, I am so glad you are talking to your ... [snip!] ... was "freaking speaking English" and push her down. Kids will tell her she can't play with them, etc. I feel terrible for her."


He was in school with her last year too, and he liked to read to her and play with her, but she is in a special class this year with a LD teacher. He was asking about why she wasn't in his class this year, and if he could get a special teacher too.



I really don't know what to say to make him understand, other than she has to have help to do things, and that she learns differently than him.

B♥Z 2 kids; Williamsport, Maryland 14245 posts
23rd Nov '12
Quoting wannaknow:" He was in school with her last year too, and he liked to read to her and play with her, but she is in ... [snip!] ... what to say to make him understand, other than she has to have help to do things, and that she learns differently than him. "


I think what you've said is fine. Being open and talking to him early will help him have a life long compassion and understanding that all people are different. I'd just let him know that if he ever has any questions, to ask.

wannaknow 2 kids; California 475 posts
23rd Nov '12
Quoting B♥Z:" I think what you've said is fine. Being open and talking to him early will help him have a life long ... [snip!] ... compassion and understanding that all people are different. I'd just let him know that if he ever has any questions, to ask."


I will do that. Thank you for your advice. I really don't want him to end up like the kids that are mean to her. It breaks my heart.

lil monkeys momma 1 child; Coopersburg, Pennsylvania 54 posts
23rd Nov '12

Hi I want to tell you I am so glad you are trying to open your son's mind and heart to special needs kids/ppl I know it can be frustrating and confusing but from my personal experience I am 27 and was born with cerebral palsy and I am due April 30th with our first and there are some really mean people in this world, there needs to be more people like you in the world I would suggest if you can showing him the "up side" to being kind that he may just be the reason she smiles just by smiling at her or saying hi even though she doesn't speak I know he's young but it may help I know it helped me as a child especially at that age, best of luck and if you need any further advice feel free to message me you are such a kind soul

wannaknow 2 kids; California 475 posts
23rd Nov '12
Quoting Madelyn Foore:" Hi I want to tell you I am so glad you are trying to open your son's mind and heart to special needs ... [snip!] ... child especially at that age, best of luck and if you need any further advice feel free to message me you are such a kind soul"


Thank you for saying that, I just don't believe that treating people badly because they are different. It is important to me that he learns to treat everyone well. I know how kids can be, but I'd like for my son to treat people the way he would want to be treated. To me that is the most important thing any child can learn in life. If he asks more questions I will be sure to send you a message to ask. Thank you for responding.

Tanya-Michelle 'Wench' Mo Due October 28; 18 kids; United Kingdom 1407 posts
23rd Nov '12

Im the same as op, I've been trying to teach my 3 year old about how some people are different to others and how some need a little bit more help and kindness. Its just hard to know what to say to a child to let them know to be kind without confusing them with too much information. We're quite lucky in the sense that we know a fair few people with different disabilities and LD so shes pretty much grown up knowing everyone is different but she still has questions which we try to answer as best and as simply as we can. Its good to know there are other parents around who feel like I do, its up to us to teach our children compassion rather than breeding ignorance. Unfortunately I've seen far too many parents breeding.ignorance into their children as far as LD's and disabilities are concerned!x