Talking About Your Child to Others
Most parents like to talk about their children. Parents enjoy discussing their child's latest achievements or funny antics. But when your child has a disability, the discussions may at times seem somewhat awkward. While other parents are bragging about their child's first steps, we may be wondering whether our child will ever walk. How do we adjust and talk about having a child with a disability?
Too many times we are also asked by a variety of professionals to tell us about our child and then given just a few minutes to summarize years of history. How do we adequately and effectively communicate our child's strengths and challenges? And how do we envision and share our hopes and dreams for our child?
Communicating about your child
- Communicating Your Child's Strengths & Challenges discusses strategies on how to effectively communicate to professionals your child's strengths and challenges.
- Developing a Life Vision for Your Child provides a guiding framework for thinking about a life-vision. Through the IEP and IFSP process you might be asked to communicate your vision for your child. Developing and sharing your family's life-vision for your child may seem like a daunting task at first, but it can actually be a rewarding experience as you reflect on your hopes and dreams for your child.
- Observing Your Child provides tips on how to observe your child in various settings and communicate those observations to the professionals working with your child.
- Take A Look At Me Portfolio - Early Childhood is a strengths-based discovery tool to assist families in describing their child to others.
- CORE: Guided Conversations with Parents on Raising Young Children with Disabilities (PDF) provides instructions to professionals on discussing the varied aspects of parenting children with disabilities. Even though it is written from a professional's perspective, the information and questions provided in the guide are helpful for parent's reflecting on their child's future.
Dealing with the emotional aspects of learning your child has a disability
- Dealing With the Reactions of Others discusses how to respond to the questions and comments of others
- Two insightful articles for parents are: "You Are Not Alone: For Parents When They Learn That Their Child Has a Disability" (PDF) written by Patricia McGill Smith and "The Unplanned Journey: When You Learn That Your Child Has a Disability" (PDF) by Carole Brown, et al.
- The Center for Parent Information and Resources provides helpful information for parents as they find out that their child has a disability.
People First Language
The language and words we use to describe others has a profound impact on the images our words create. People First Language recognizes when talking about people with disabilities, we need to put the person first and the disability second. Three resources to help you adopt People First Language:
- People First Language by the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities
- "To Ensure Inclusion, Freedom and Respect for People with Disabilities We Must Use People First Language" (PDF) by Kathie Snow is an excellent article discussing the need for people first language.
- "Disability is Natural"