How To Talk to Your Child About Their Disabilities

hands holding paper Cutout of different family members being together.

Data from 2019 shows that over 3 million children have a disability. This makes it essential to know how to talk to your child about disabilities and how to offer support for parents with a special needs child.

In this article, we answer some of your toughest questions like, 'how to explain mental disability to a child,' and, 'what is a special needs child.' Continue reading to learn how to be part of building a more positive community.

Why It's Important to Tell Your Child About Their Disability

Learning how to explain mental disability to a child and making it a normal part of your life is essential to their success. Children who are unaware of their disabilities may always wonder why they seem challenged by tasks or situations that other children navigate with ease.

How Should You Talk to Your Child?

If you're a family with a disabled child, learning how to talk to your child about disabilities for the first time is overwhelming. We recommend focusing on fact and minimizing emotion.

Allow them the opportunity to figure out how they feel about their disability instead of how you feel about it. If you treat them as if you believe they're capable, then they will feel capable.

What a Parent Should Not Say to a Disabled Child

When explaining disabilities to your child, what you don't say is as important as what you say. Avoid terms such as 'special needs,' and avoid talking about disability with a sad or negative tone. Children absorb these words and emotions quickly. 

How Should We Talk to Your Children About Disability?

Finding support for parents with a special needs child is difficult, especially in your social circle. That's why it's important to teach your friends and family how to explain mental disability to a child. This can help prevent the wrong things from being said.

How Do You Explain Special Needs to a Child?

When your child hears the term special needs or sees a special needs child, they'll likely come to you and ask, 'what is a special needs child?' Knowing how to talk to your child about disabilities is important when they do.

The key is to avoid any negative stigma. For example, explain how their medical equipment helps them instead of talking about how that child can't do things the way your child can. The latter is negative, while the former is neutral to positive.

What Parents Should Not Say to a Disabled Child

If someone you know is raising a child with a disability or you see a disabled child, focus on positivity. Don't tell a disabled child or their parents that you're sorry about the disability or ask about how they plan to 'fix' their child.

This perpetuates the stigma that there is something wrong with the child. Instead, focus on learning and ask natural questions. Questions like, 'I'm not familiar with [insert disability here], do you mind explaining it to me?' is more effective.

Learning How to Talk to Your Child About Disabilities

Learning how to talk to your child about disabilities is essential in changing the conversation surrounding them. It doesn't matter whether you are a family with a disabled child or not, we need to offer better support for parents with a special needs child.

If you're in need of more support, review our resources for caregivers and sign up for more information. 

Other Articles: 

LIVE CHAT WITH AN AGENT