A Parent’s Perspective of the needs
for a child with a disability
A child who happens to have a disability is not “broken,” they are first and foremost a child, who needs to belong, be cherished, embraced, and welcomed into our communities. Having a sense of belonging, being accepted and included, provides self-esteem, motivation, and happiness and therefore are prerequisites for learning and for a “quality of life.”
A child who happens to have a disability does not need to be “fixed” before they are allowed by others to have their needs met in the places where they can be with every other child. A “quality of life” is not directly related to the number of skills a child can achieve, or the number of therapies they are provided but more importantly the way they feel about themselves, the way others interrelate with them, and their interdependence in the community. The disability is part of who the child is, and should not be thought of as something that should be, or necessarily needs to be, attempted to be eradicated. Therapies can help a child gain functional skills but should be kept in perspective with acceptance of the child as they are, and not giving them or others any message that says they are inferior, but maintaining the message that they are a whole person who is valuable and worthy as they are.
When both the child’s needs for “personal growth and development” as well as their need to “belong and be accepted” are met together, instead of one or the other, or one at a time, the child will be provided a greater “quality of life.”
Whether or not a child walks with a normal gait, or even walks at all; talks or uses sign language; needs assistance with self-care or can do things themselves, has little significance if they have no place to go, no friends to go with, or a community that does not know or care about them.
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