The Importance of Independence for Kids with Special Needs

the importance of independence for kids with special needs

When you are raising a child with special needs, or any child, it can be a lot of work. As parents you want to set them up for success and provide them with all of the support and services that they will need. Your goal is to help maximize their potential while also protecting them. Sometimes for parents this can turn into being overprotective which can take away from building your child’s confidence and independence. It’s extremely important for your child to see just how much they can accomplish on their own; having special needs doesn’t have to hold them back!

Setting up for Success

It’s so important to set your children up for success. Their future life will be full of so many choices and decisions so it’s good for them to learn how to handle certain things at a young age. Follow these tips so that your child can work on becoming independent at a young age!

Avoid Doing Things for Them: As parents we tend to want to do things for our children to make things happen faster or how we want them to be done. We can all agree that if we want things done the right way it’s easier to just do it ourselves BUT this is not something we can practice when it comes to our children. Our children need to learn these skills and learn them at their own pace. Have patience with your child and help them as needed! Start small and let them practice brushing their teeth and/or hair on their own. Perfection is not productive!  Let your children do things their way whenever possible.

Collaborate: If you’re a current PediaPlex parent then you know how strongly we believe in collaboration. Have your teachers and therapists collaborate with you on ways that you can help your child become more independent. They can help you work on these tasks at home and also help you to come up with new approaches. Be sure your child’s teachers and therapists are collaborating with each other as well!

Provide Challenges: Your child needs to experience some challenges in life so that they can succeed. Use advice from your therapists so you know what types of challenges might be good for your child and start working on them. Encourage your child as they work through it and be sure to celebrate their success! Work hard to catch your child doing something well and acknowledge them for it. This will help boost their confidence and encourage them as they experience new challenges.

importance of independence for kids with special needs

Provide Choices: Choices are important too! Letting your child make their own choices is a great way to help them work on building their independence. Be sure to only give your child choices you are OK with them choosing! This keeps you in control of the situation but will encourage them because they still got the final say. For example, let them pick which healthy snack they want that day or which shoes to wear!

Set Goals: Goals are important at any age. Your therapists have goals for your child, you have goals for your child, but what are their goals? Help your child come up with goals for themselves based on what they are interested in.

Use Assistive Devices: Assistive devices are a great way to help your child work on their development and independence. The more they use these devices, the more they become familiar with how to use it. Things like communication devices, special utensils, buttons, or switches are a great what to help your child succeed!

PediaPlex in Dallas Fort Worth works with children and their families to develop skills and overcome challenges so that they can be more independent. From ABA therapy and speech therapy to occupational therapy, PediaPlex offers collaborative services to meet your child’s needs. We are here to help your child thrive!

For more information on the services we offer at PediaPlex, give us a call at (817)-442-0222.

-The PediaPlex Family