Helping others understand your child's disabilityWritten by Jeanette Hanscome
When I was a child, my kindergarten teacher told my mother, "I’m concerned about your daughter. When I read stories to the children, Jeanette is the only one in the circle not looking at the pictures."
"Jeanette isn’t looking at the pictures because she can’t see them," my mother answered. "If you ask her questions about the story, she’ll probably repeat the whole thing back to you verbatim. She has a great memory."
How to respond to others
My parents’ gracious responses taught me how to provide helpful information to others regarding my vision limitations. Here are some relational tips to use if your child has a disability:
- Accept questions. Explaining your child’s limitations helps others better understand. Practice responses to possible questions.
- Emphasize the positive. When explaining your child’s limitations, point out her strengths as well.
- Choose your battles. Ignore stares, but speak up if someone teases your child.
- Don’t be defensive. Ignorance or not knowing what to say often leads to insensitive comments from others, so try to show grace.
- Let your child play. When your child enjoys an activity, it shows others her disability isn’t robbing her of a rich life.
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