Start Early Teaching Your Children About People with Special Needs

Start Early Teaching Your Children About People with Special Needs -
2 min read

Whenever Nate and I are in a public place, I notice how children look at him. Their young eyes and minds, look with interest as some turn their head in his direction, wondering who Nate is, and why he looks, or acts the way he does.

This is expected of children, because everything to a child is intriguing. Their surroundings, with its many places, people, and things evoke curiosity.

I see this clearly in some children every Saturday morning when Nate and I are leaving our morning swim. As we move through the lobby, encountering the 9am crowd of parents and children, we usually receive looks and stares from little ones. They point at Nate, as they ask their parents, “What’s wrong with him?” And I have watched numerous times, as parents become embarrassed, as they hurry their children along, telling them to hush, while not answering their question.

Yet, I don’t want parents to be ashamed by their child’s questions. In no way should they quiet their child or not answer them. However, I would prefer that each parent use that time as a teachable moment.

Use your child’s curiosity at their early age to teach them about other children. Share with them about children who may not look like they do, walk like them, or talk like them. Teach them about children who are nonverbal or use a wheelchair or other devices to get around. Talk to them about children who learn in a way that is good for them. Teach them about children who are sick, either at home or in a hospital…..

Just, whatever you do…. teach them.

When you make the decision to teach them at an early age, you are preparing your child for the future.  A future, where they will see individuals who who are have different needs or concerns, than they have.  And it will allow them to develop a heart that is kind, considerate and caring for those who have special needs. - -



Related Post:

Lessons I Learned From Raising A Child With Special Needs “Educate People”


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  1. 4
    June Wilson

    This is such a great post that parents everywhere need to read! Yes, parents should teach this early. I’m fortunate that my little guy has special needs classmates (one is wheelchair bound) since first grade. So this taught him a lot. One day after school he cried his eyes out because he was in the library and let a teacher (not his) know that a student in a wheelchair smelled awfu, and she scolded him, telling him he was rude and unkind. Our little guy (age 7 at the time) does not have an unkind bone in his body. He sincerely thought he was “helping” by “reporting” this, which is partly why he cried so hard about it after he got home. It was a great teaching opportunity. He has since volunteered to help “special buddies” in his school. He has a big heart.

    However, when you hear parents hushing their children and not answering their questions, don’t forget that half of those parents could be addressing their child’s questions in detail once they get into the privacy of their car or at home. Emphasis on could be. I say this because I know that is what I do! Sometimes it is not an opportune moment to stop right then and engage in a public teaching opportunity, but I take a mental note, and my husband and I always follow-up when we are home one-on-one. My two cents.

    Thank you so much for sharing this! Maybe you can create a meme to go with it? This needs to be viral.

    • 5

      Thank you June for reading and commenting. And yes, it is my hope that parents will share later. Perhaps I should have placed that any there. A revision may be coming. 🙂

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