Children with Challenges: Gaining Independence

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Gaining Independence

Many parents stand by in frustration wondering how they can help a challenged child develop new skills. The very first step to completing this task is ridding our minds of the word disabled. The dictionary defines disabled as an umbrella term for someone who is being incapacitated by illness or injury or in broad terms physically or mentally impaired.

The biggest gift we can give our children is independence. Independence is freedom from dependency of us. That’s what every mother wants, her child to fly from the nest and live a life of happiness and freedom. Another thing we can do for our children is step back and allow them to struggle a bit. Remember the saying: “necessity is the mother of invention?” What that means is through necessity, people become creative and make do with the things they do have. It makes them more kind, compassionate and grateful towards life. Through struggles a child learns perseverance. Perseverance will fuel a child with the energy to work hard at developing skills and build self esteem. The natural inclination of a parent is to swoop in and rescue the child when they struggle, or cry or attempt to give up because a learning experience has challenged them. Unfortunately, by rescuing our children we are unconsciously conditioning them to be dependent on us. And that is something that can be prevented. Disabled children can be independent; they just need to show them how. First, help them find their own strengths. Everyone has a strong suit or strength. Whether its compassion, or math. But, everyone does. So, develop these strong suits and strengths and capitalize on the things they CAN do. Second, don’t use the word disability as an excuse. Everyone has some adversity or challenge to overcome. EVERYONE. But, where appropriate, hold your child to the same standards as you would with any other child. Doing so, will make him or her stronger in the long run and give them the best chance to succeed and...
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