Encouraging Independence for Children with Special Needs

Encouraging Independence.

Raising a child with special needs can be a lot of work. You want to provide them with the best support and services to maximize their potential while protecting them from being hurt. Depending on the nature of your child’s needs, you may become overprotective in an effort to help them be more successful. It is important to build your child’s confidence and independence so they realize how much they can do on their own.  Their special needs do not have to hold them back.

Provide choices. One easy way of starting to build independence is by giving your child choices so they are more in control of their life. This can be applied to many situations, whether it’s deciding between wearing a blue shirt or a green shirt, picking a banana or an orange for snack, or choosing whether to brush their teeth or put on pajamas first. They are able to advocate for their preferences.

Avoid doing things for them. If your child is capable of brushing their own hair or getting dressed by themselves, let them do it – even if it means allowing for extra time. It might be easier for you to do it for them, but it doesn’t help them in the long run. If a task takes a while, keep giving them opportunities to practice and improve their skills.

Provide challenges. Don’t make everything easy just so your child will succeed. Be strategic in giving them challenges that they can achieve with some effort or practice. They’ll begin to see that they can do things if they put their mind to it and work hard. If a task is a struggle for them, consider ways to adapt it to their current abilities. As they develop their skills, you can continue to make adjustments to build their independence.

Use assistive devices as appropriate. Whether it’s a communication device, special utensils, buttons and switches, or some other technology, find what works for your child. These devices are designed to support them and help them to be more successful and independent. Learn how to use assistive technology to benefit their development and help them become more accustomed to how to use it.

Set goals. Work with your child to set goals they want to work toward. Find out what they’re interested in and what they want to achieve. Even if your child is non-verbal, you can use their body language and responses, and progress in therapy to help set goals to work on. This also provides more motivation and incentive for your child because they’re working toward something they find meaningful.

Collaborate with therapists and teachers. Talk about ways that you can work together to create consistency in building skills and fostering independence. Open communication allows you to share strategies that are or aren’t working well and come up with new approaches so you’re all on the same page.

PediaPlex works with children and their families to develop skills and overcome challenges so that children can be more independent and embrace their potential. From ABA therapy and speech therapy to counseling and social skills training, PediaPlex offers comprehensive services to meet your child’s needs. Help your child to thrive.

Could your child use more support to be successful and overcome challenges? Find out how PediaPlex can help.

Start your child's journey today.

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