How to communicate with kids with special needs

Mona Delahooke shares advice on the best way to communicate with kids with special needs.
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How to communicate with kids with special needs

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It's very important that we give children the message that different does not mean deficient. And of course this would not be an overt message we would give children, but it's very subtle. For example, many children with special needs and neuro-diverse children do not have the ability to use spoken language or even move their bodies in a purposeful way. What we need to remember is that these are children who may not be able to show us what they're understanding but they have thoughts and ideas and emotions just as everybody else does. It is incumbent on the adults in the children's life to make sure that they have the proper supports to communicate back with us. We want to aim high and we want to remember that the message that we give children is really important. If we give children the message that they are not understanding when they really are, that can be very harmful. A lot of adults now, and teenagers, on the autism spectrum have written about how damaging that was when they were younger, when they were told that they weren't doing something right or that they couldn't do something when inside, they actually could. We want to remember that the inability to talk does not equal the inability to think.

Mona Delahooke shares advice on the best way to communicate with kids with special needs.

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Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.

Child Psychologist

Mona M. Delahooke, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist specializing in the development of infants, children, and their families. Endorsed by the State of California as a Reflective Practice Mentor, she works with multi- disciplinary teams supporting children with developmental or emotional delays across the country. She is a faculty member/trainer of the Profectum Foundation and the Early Intervention Training Institute (EITI) of the Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic. Currently in private practice in Arcadia, California, she consults with parents, preschools, and school districts in the areas of developmental screening, assessment and intervention for young children and their families. Dr. Delahooke maintains a blog at www.thevisibleparent.com, where she regularly posts supportive information for parents and professionals.

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