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How to Foster Independence in a Child with Disability

Raising children with disabilities can be a joy, but one can easily make a child totally dependent on others. Parents want the best for their children and when it comes to children with disabilities, one can easily get overprotective.

1. Assign them simple tasks

Although children with disabilities require special attention and care during their childhood, they are just like children without disabilities. They should not be exempted from carrying out tasks on their own. Depending on the disability, some can be trained to do simple tasks like brushing teeth, washing utensils or going to the shop, especially if the shop is not far away. 

Most people may be against sending your child with disability to the shop but such tasks, will: 

  • Show the child that you trust them and believe in their abilities

  • Enhance problem solving skills, the child will have to be creative how she/he can navigate to reach the shop and get what they need despite the barriers

 

2. Provide assistive technology

According to the Assistive Technology Industry Association, assistive technology (AT) are products, equipment, and systems that enhance learning, working, and daily living for persons with disabilities.

These could be simple things such as a specialized toothbrush, a stool or footrest, to complex equipment such as wheelchairs and Jaws software. If a child needs a wheelchair to move around or any other assistive technology, providing these will enhance their  independence. Learning how to use such technologies also makes them responsible and this also contributes to their independence.

3. Celebrate and Rewarding them

Celebrating every milestone in a child’s development encourages them to do more and to achieve better results. This also makes them confident.

Rewarding them will teach them to earn their keep and be independent. It should be noted that not every milestone should be rewarded, for example, a child doesn’t need to be rewarded for things like brushing their teeth. 

4. Encourage creativity

Creativity and problem solving skills can be enhanced through games.  Board and card games and the tactile puzzles are some of the activities that can boost the creativity of a child with a disability. 

Another way to encourage creativity and logical thinking is by allowing them to make decisions while helping them to think the decisions through without directing them to certain conclusions. 

5. Expose the Child to new Environments

Human beings are social beings and children with disabilities are not an exception. Children with disabilities are often confined to one place for a long time. Even those that go to school often have no life beyond school and the home. They are excluded from functions because they can either get lost or cause a scene. 

Exposing children with disabilities to new environments earlier in life will make them aware of the barriers that exist. These new environments should not necessarily be for children with disabilities only, allow them to mingle with children with and without disabilities and observe how they behave in such environments. 

After exposing them, teach them how they can express themselves and be self-advocates. All these strategies coupled with safe environments will contribute to a well rounded and independent children who are confident in their abilities.

 

Article by: Emomeri Maryanne


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