How to connect with your special needs child?

  1. Understand their specific needs: 

Understanding your child’s sensory sensitivities as well as specific likes and dislikes in terms of food, clothing and other things can help them feel more comfortable in different environments by understanding their specific likes and dislikes. 

  1. Be their teacher: As someone with a special needs child, not only are you a parent or primary caregiver. You are not just a parent but also a teacher throughout their lives who has to teach them skills like asking for help, being independent in self-care, communication etc. This inadvertently helps your child to learn to communicate with you so you can help them. 
  2. Try imitation: If you try to imitate their actions or way of play they might be more inclined to look at you and try to connect with you. You can use this opportunity to interact with them, make them imitate you as well as teach them new skills by getting into the zone of what they like and building up from there. 
  3. Be Santa Claus: If you keep what they like with you they will try to interact with you because that object becomes a reinforcement.This is a great communication as well as teaching opportunity. 

3 Survival tips for Caregivers with Special needs children 

  1. Acknowledge your role beyond a caregiver/parent: It is important to acknowledge your role as a spouse, sibling, son/daughter and employee besides just being a caregiver to your special needs child. Don’t avoid or leave other occupations that maintain a rhythm and routine in your life and give it purpose beyond a caregiver. 
  1. Build a social support system: Friends and family members can be a huge support not just for helping you with chores or accompanying you to therapy. You should take opportunities to socialize and seek emotional support from them. 
  1. Ask for help: Being a parent to a special needs child means that you will need more help from than other parents require. Always be upfront in explaining your child’s difficulties and asking for help rather than hiding and becoming isolated from society because you’re afraid of the stigma around disability. 

Factors that determine your child’s readiness for writing: 

There are 3 major factors that determine readiness for writing at any given age group:

  1. Cognitive levels 
  2. Language and communication 
  3. Fine motor skills

For Toddlers (ages 1–2 years):

  • Ability to hold crayon in clenched fist( Palmar supinate grasp) 
  • Ability to understand that crayons are used for scribbling 

Preschoolers (ages 3–4 years):

  • Have a vocabulary of 400-500 words. 
  • Understand concept of standing and sleeping lines 
  • Digital pronate grasp progressing to static tripod grasp 
  • Ability to make distinct marks that look like letters and that are separated from each other

Younger grade-schoolers (ages 5–7 years):

  • Hold pencil in dynamic tripod grasp 
  • Understands phonics and spells words based on how they sound
  • Ability to label and describe features with a few words and begin to write simple sentences with correct grammar
  • Enough language to be able to describe their experiences.


Executive functions are a set of mental skills. These skills help the brain organize and act on information. Kids use these skills to get organized, plan, get started, and stay on task.

Executive functions involve sub-skills such as:

  • Self- regulation 
  • Inhibition 
  • Flexibility in thinking 
  • Working memory 
  • Shifting attention 
  • Task initiation 
  • Organization 
  • Planning and time management 

Q. Why is Speech therapy important?

A. The early years are crucial for speech, language, and communication problems. Building skills in the first 5 years of life is important to lay a strong foundation for learning in school. 

Children begin learning language before they are born and by 3 have learned most of their language skills. 

If the child cannot use speech to functionally communicate needs and wants by age 3 then speech therapy is required to achieve this milestone.

Q. My child is late talking, should I be worried

A. A rule of thumb is that if a parent is worried, it is worth following up. The speech‐language pathologist can give a clinical opinion and ideas to encourage the child to interact with others and strategies to help the child learn language. The SLP will then monitor the child’s progress. If your child has difficulty understanding language or appears withdrawn, seek help. 

Q. Will my child outgrow it?

Many children are late talkers. One of the challenges of working with infants and toddlers is deciding who will outgrow a language delay and who will not. Some catch up quickly (late bloomers) and some will continue to develop more slowly through the toddler and preschool years

You will hear “He’s a boy” or “She is only 2”. There is no crystal ball, but there are some factors that increase your child’s likelihood of not outgrowing the delay.

These include:

– Poor comprehension of language

– Limited use of gestures

– Limited interest in people

– Family history of speech and language delay

– Developmental or neurological concerns

– Prematurity

A rule of thumb is to pay attention to your inner voice. If you are concerned or your child shows some of these risk factors, SLPs recommend that you do not wait and see, but consult with a SLP. If a child has problems with understanding or talking, he may be frustrated and let you know through challenging behaviour. Suggestions from a SLP may help reduce this frustration.

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