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Helping Your Child Participate in the Community

Getting children with special needs involved in the community is an important step toward advocacy and acceptance. But often before we can get the community to accept our kids, we have to help them accept situations that aren't well-suited to their development and abilities. These articles will help you form strategies to get through those trouble spots.

'Staging' Your Child for Success
It can be hard to imagine community inclusion for your child if all your experiences end in meltdown. Design an outing with the sole specific goal of getting there and back successfully.

Worshiping with a Special Needs Child
Making it through a church service with a child with special needs can be a spiritually trying experience, but setting appropriate expecations and incentives can give you a prayer of success.

Five Ways to Make Your Church More Inclusive
Many families feel rejected by faith communities that don't seem to know how to welcome and embrace children with special needs. Amy Fenton Lee, who blogs at The Inclusive Church, offers five ways that parents can start leading their churches toward inclusion.

Before You Go to the Mall With Your Child
Bringing your child out into the community often means finding yourself in overwhelming places like the mall. These five tips will make your trip shorter, smoother, and less stressful.

Getting Along With the Neighbors
Your home should be a safe haven, but intolerant neighbors can make you feel judged and rejected even there. You probably can't reach everyone, but there are ways to make your neighborhood as welcoming as possible for your child.

Positive Playground Strategies for Children With Special Needs

Going to the playground should be a fun experience with your child. Youngsters with special needs often love the equipment they find there, but stumble over the socialization that's often expected in playground outings. If your playground visits have become more fearsome than fun, follow these five quick tips for a happier time out.

Disney Trips With Sensory Processing Precautions
In an excerpt from The Sensory Processing Disorder Answer Book, an occupational therapist shares tips on keeping your child from sensory overload at Disney theme parks.

Dealing With Staring
Most parents of children with special needs resent the stares of strangers, but in her book "Breakthrough Parenting," author Judy Winter puts a more charitable spin on the reasons people look.

Dealing with Toxic People
You can't believe some of the things people say to you about your special-needs child or your parenting. If you can't avoid those folks who can't say anything nice, you can manage their behavior -- and yours -- more effectively.

Fear of Escalators
Is your child afraid of escalators? Reluctance to step aboard that moving staircase can lead to anything from frustrated persuasion to irate shoppers lined up behind you to a full-blown tantrum. It may seem like a small deal to you to find your moment and jump aboard, but don't assume your child's just being stubborn or a scaredy-cat. There can be legitimate reasons for escalator reluctance.

How to Help Kids Contribute
Wondering how your child can contribute to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort? Every little piggy bank helps. Coinstar machines -- the ones that let you dump your pennies and get cash -- can also help you donate your nickels and dimes to the American Red Cross. Here's how to help your child gather coins for the cause.

Warning Labels
Does your child need to avoid certain foods, shrink from certain sensory experiences, or otherwise require people to know what not to do to him or her? Print out one of these warning labels, tape or pin it on your child's shirt, and put everyone on alert.

How to Be a Music Monitor
Making sure your kids aren't hearing lyrics that might disturb them (or you) got easier with Parental Advisory Stickers, but harder with online downloads. Here's how to really find out what your child is listening to.

Leading a Special Needs Ministry
Learn how your church can reach out to your child and others with special needs with this "practical guide to including children and loving families."

Book Review: (dis)Abilities and the Gospel
Find tips on "bringing people with special needs closer to Christ" in a book written by two moms of children with special needs who also have experience as church helpers.

Book Review: Next Chapter Book Club
Review of a book that tells how to create "a model community literacy program for people with intellectual disabilities."

Book Review: Person-Centered Planning Made Easy
Review of a book. written for professionals, that explains finding placement in the community using a future-centered approach.

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