How do you handle children with special needs?
Just like all children, children with disabilities and other special needs are unique individuals with different strengths and challenges, making it difficult to generalize about the supports or resources needed to ensure their success. Children with disabilities spend most of their time doing and enjoying the same activities that other children do. Since children with disabilities are more like all children than they are different there are usually only a few changes that need to be made to support that child’s success. While it would be impossible to predict specific accommodations or supports an individual child with disabilities might need without knowing that child there are a few general ideas to keep in mind.
Getting to know the child as an individual is the most important factor in successful inclusion. The child’s disability or special needs is only one small part of what makes them unique. Talk with the family and find out what the child likes and dislikes, their interests, strengths and challenges. This information will assist you in determining the accommodations and supports that will be needed as well as provide information about the strengths the child will be able to share with his or her peers. The child’s family is the expert on their child so the support and information they can give you is vital to the child’s successful inclusion.
It’s a good idea to read up on the particular condition the child has been diagnosed with. This will give you general information about the child’s diagnosis but remember individual children with a particular condition may have a broad range of strengths and challenges.
Most children with disabilities receive support under an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) or an Individual Educational Program (IEP). A team made up of professionals and the child’s family develop a plan with goals for the child and strategies and supports to help the child achieve those goals. This team is ready to problem solve when issues come up and to provide ideas and additional strategies to help the child be successful.
Every child has unique strengths, interests and ideas and children with disabilities are no different. When provided needed supports every child can be successful.