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Delicate question.... discussing special needs children with typically dev children

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4monkeys
boys will be boys =)

Member since 9/05

7205 total posts

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:)

Delicate question.... discussing special needs children with typically dev children

I'd be interested in hearing various perspectives, espcially from moms. What do you want other children to know about your child, if they have questions, how would you want THEIR mom to answer them ?

and more specifically, we have a family member with a special needs child. beautiful little girl. (she's about 6). our kids havent met yet. we've never been super close, but we've always had a connection with them growing up (although living far from eachother) and now we've all reconnected on FB, and want to get our kids together.
Her daughter is non-verbal.
As are all children, my boys are very inquisitive and will ask questions.

What do you suggest I tell them before we meet my cousin's children?
Ive told them in many situations through daily outings, etc. that God made us all differently, we're all just as special. I just want to know what the right thing to say to them is. something that the mom would be happy to hear, and something that my kids can learn from.

hope this makes sense.
any feedback, specific to my question, or even just general ideas in reference to special needs, would be very much appreciated.



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Posted 9/9/09 9:38 PM
 

smdl
I love Gary too..on a plate!

Member since 5/06

32461 total posts

Name:
me

Re: Delicate question.... discussing special needs children with typically dev children

DS is much younger but ALL is playdates are with typical children. I don't think it has bothered any of the kids, mine or the typical one.

When they ask questions just answer honestly and in a simple way. Kids don't understand lengthy explaination. For example, I found that my niece would just say "OK" after I tell her something short and she moves on to another topic/activity, etc... She just turned 8.

Posted 9/10/09 9:16 AM
 

4monkeys
boys will be boys =)

Member since 9/05

7205 total posts

Name:
:)

Re: Delicate question.... discussing special needs children with typically dev children

thanks for the feedback Chat Icon

It's not that it bothers them at all, I hope it didnt come across that way.
it fascinates/intrigues them when they see someone different, and they ask us questions with such a concerned and curious perspective. I'll give an example of someone non-verbal. (although very different scenario, but this came to mind bc my children went through it.)

Our close friends have a family member who has dementia. She is non-verbal. My boys (ages 5 and 7, then they were 4 and 6) asked a million questions about why she cant talk. A short answer doesnt always work for them, especially in this case. Chat Icon We told them that (in this specific case Chat Icon) her brain isnt well, and the part of her brain that helps her talk, isnt well, and so she cant speak. and we talked about what a great person she is, how much fun she was to grow up with, etc.
(of course they prob cant grasp "what she was like years ago") but they were completely intrigued to know more, they thought about her (and still do, and its over a year ago now), they have dreams about her, pray to God to fix her brain. My son later said "I wonder if when I grow up I can invent a robot brain so she doesnt have to have this disease anymore" (they had seen the arificial heart on a documentary) he brings her up at random times, and he seriously gets sad over how unfair it is that she cant talk.

Im sure it will be totally different with a child, and they will see her play, laugh, smile and enjoy their company.

I couldnt help but think of the story above, and wonder what questions they will ask me (and how I can respond to them)...

thanks again for the reply.



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Message edited 9/10/2009 11:38:18 PM.

Posted 9/10/09 11:35 PM
 

smdl
I love Gary too..on a plate!

Member since 5/06

32461 total posts

Name:
me

Re: Delicate question.... discussing special needs children with typically dev children

By bothered, I mean... I don't think it changes them playing together. They will notice but they don't do like adults. They just notice something is "off" or that maybe the other kid does not want to play with them.

They will have questions. Just respond like a matter of fact. I personally don't like the "brain does not work well" type answer. More like "her/his brain works differently sometimes".

Posted 9/11/09 11:19 AM
 

4monkeys
boys will be boys =)

Member since 9/05

7205 total posts

Name:
:)

Re: Delicate question.... discussing special needs children with typically dev children

I completely agree with not using that answer as far as children. we told them that in respect to the Alzheimers, since that is the truth about the disease Chat Icon which my hubby also lost his dad to. we were caught offguard and it seemed right at the time, to explain why this amazing person, coudlnt walk or talk or communicate at all with anyone around her.


I have also mentioned to them the fact that children learn differently and that's what makes us all so special. They see it among family and friends generally speaking, but I dont think theyve been around any nonverbal children yet, so i wanted to be prepared.

thanks for sharing your thoughts. Im very sensitive to this type of stuff, so I appreciate your feedback in helping me as a mom (and soon as a Sp Ed teacher).
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Posted 9/11/09 3:20 PM
 

rbsbabies
LIF Adolescent

Member since 12/08

544 total posts

Name:
Melissa

Re: Delicate question.... discussing special needs children with typically dev children

I have 5 boys. The 2 oldest are 10 & 8 and #3 is 5 who has Autism (and is non-verbal) ( the other 2 are 1 and 2 months) Now for them it's fine because he's their brother but I have to say when they have friends come over they are not bothered at all. Kids are so different these days vs. back when we were in school. I assume because there taught in Kindergarten what a special needs kid is. I would just go with the flow and if they ask questions be honest.

Posted 9/11/09 9:26 PM
 

PrincessP
Big sister!!!!!!!!!!

Member since 12/05

17450 total posts

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Re: Delicate question.... discussing special needs children with typically dev children

I am actually in a direct situation myself but not the parent of the child but rather the sister. Gillys aunt, my sister, was born with a hole in her heart causing lack of oxygen to her brain. she just turned 30 but def has the social skills of a 3-5 yr old. OK, for now Gilly climbs on her, plays with her and they are BFF but, later on i know I will have to explain to Gilly the difference between Gilly and my sister. The thing is in our current situation Gilly lives it so she doesnt know better then maybe your child would meeting this other child for the first time. I agree with Sophie that you probably would be doing a disservice going into a lengthy hard detailed conversation possibly making them think something is worse then what it really is. A great example for me is that my sister has a tendency to slip curses and while Gilly just thinks its funny, I dont. I work in the field and work with experts on what to do and i also FMed Liza asking for her thoughts. She actually gave me some great insight as to how to explain to Gilly this is what you do and this is what your aunt does. She told me when Gilly slips a curse that is learned by my sister say "thats not gilly words thats ...... words". Its actually been working for us thus far. It contains things that could be picked up by my sister. Your children are going to ask questions when meeting this child. Being the sister of someone who is handicapped it saddened me more when parents kept it like the hidden secret while their child stared like whats wrong. I would be open with the questions but treat it like any other given situation...KWIM...

Posted 9/13/09 9:04 AM
 

lipglossjunky73
My Everything!

Member since 11/05

35670 total posts

Name:
<3

Re: Delicate question.... discussing special needs children with typically dev children

A mom I interiewed for my book said she tells kids "Jade has trouble talking well, but she loves to play with friends"

Some parents explained it also in this way:

Sometimes people's legs don't work, so they need wheelchairs. Her words don't work so well, so she needs help communicating what she wants


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Posted 9/15/09 7:58 AM
 

4monkeys
boys will be boys =)

Member since 9/05

7205 total posts

Name:
:)

Re: Delicate question.... discussing special needs children with typically dev children

Posted by lipglossjunky73

A mom I interiewed for my book said she tells kids "Jade has trouble talking well, but she loves to play with friends"

Some parents explained it also in this way:

Sometimes people's legs don't work, so they need wheelchairs. Her words don't work so well, so she needs help communicating what she wants


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Liza, both those examples are amazing. Chat Icon thank you Chat Icon Chat Icon

and lots of luck on a book, wow that's awesome!

Posted 9/15/09 8:24 AM
 
 

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