Special needs kids and anxiety…
Unless you have special needs kids, it can often be difficult to understand that special needs kids and anxiety go hand in hand. And to what extend this anxiety can rule their lives. It can seem totally illogical, it can last for long periods of time and it can change abruptly. This doesn’t exactly make it easy to manage. But it’s vital that this anxiety is sensitively handled so that it doesn’t become a life-long issue. In this post, there are a few steps you can take. And here are a few practical steps that have helped us:
- Be patient. It may seem logical but sometimes it can be hard! When your child refuses to touch the grass but insists on going barefoot, life can be tricky. Try and work around this by finding a solution that works for everyone. For us it means carrying Dominic at times and making a game of it by letting him walk on walls and fences.
- Be encouraging. It’s really hard for special needs kids so you need to praise their wins. We use a reward chart, which can be used for discipline and also encouragement. When Oscar finally returned to the dog park, after six months of refusing to go, we praised and rewarded him.
- Be understanding. As with being patient, this can also be difficult. Especially when an anxiety seems so illogical. For instance, Oscar is not afraid of snakes but he’s afraid of butterflies. The solution is to try and explain to your child that something could be dangerous. And also to realise that their might be a logic in the fear that you can’t understand.
- Be an advocate. People don’t understand, so it’s important that you educate them. For example when we visit friends with dogs, we ask them to put their dogs away. Or ask people to be understanding when Dominic needs to switch lights on. But at the same time, when people are judgmental, don’t let it bother you. Some people don’t want to or can’t be understanding. And those people are not worth your effort!
What are your experiences with special needs kids and anxiety? Do you have tips to share?