How to Treat Children and Teens with Special Needs

Children and teenagers with special needs are often treated badly their peers, even though they are often nice to their peers in return. If you want to be kinder to them, but aren’t sure how to go about doing it.

  1. If you see someone who has a disability, understand what they are going through.
    • Realize that they didn’t choose their condition and it is not grounds for making fun of them.
  2. Treat them with as much respect as you would with anyone else, but don’t coddle them.
    • As with anyone else, they will let you know if they want to change something you’re doing.
  3. If you really have difficulty accepting them, don’t even spend time around them.
    • Nobody wants to be with someone who’s just going to make fun of them.


Seven Tips for Disciplining the Children with Special Needs
  1. Watch the child closely before taking disciplinary actions. Needless to say that special need children need closer watching, with great care and attention. It should not frighten them in any way. Rather it should be built upon affection and concern.
  2. Disciplining the special need children requires much planning. The caregiver should develop a plan of action before a behavioral incident occurs. You should expect and consider possible settings where you may face an outburst. You should also consider your reaction, the child’s needs and response, and the punishments you may use to stop or alter the behavior.
  3. Special need children may have unusual behavioral triggers, so it is important to know the child well in advance how he will react and how you should develop your plan to be flexible in your approach.
  4. While you reward good behavior you should have a positive approach in punishing. That does not mean you must be lenient. You have to react but positively so as to make your child realize his mistake. This will help the child recognize what to do as well as to avoid what the wrong. For special need children, it is even more important that the consequence or reward should follow immediately the behavior to have the greater effect and opportunity to teach.
  5. Patience and consistency are very important in discipline the special need children. Since the normal development of the special need children is delayed, they may require more exposure to discipline before they begin to understand expectations. It needs a lot of patience and consistency from the parent and caregiver.
  6. Disciplining should be executed through proper communication. The parent or caregiver should communicate clearly to make the child understand. Special need children need to be instructed in very simple and repeated sentences.
  7. The child specialist or therapist should be consulted as much as possible to take effective disciplines which fit your child’s needs, skills and developmental level. Without consulting him ever restrict food, water, medicine or other requirements vital to sustaining life.

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