As a special education teacher, I see kids with all types of disabilities and learning challenges. Sometimes, we are so busy teaching and working on critical skills that we don’t spend enough time talking to kids about their actual disabilities. By starting to talk to kids about their disabilities, we can empower young learners to understand who they are and give them confidence to achieve their greatest goals. Here are 10 Truths Kids With Disabilities Should Know:
1. You are unique. You have your own learning profile with individual strengths and weaknesses. That is true for every person, whether they have a disability or not. Learn to embrace your strengths while always working on your challenges along the way.
2. Your disability is just one piece of you. You are not a “disabled person” but “a person with a disability”. It is just one part of who you are. You have many other strengths and positives that shine through each and every day that are bigger parts of you as a person. While your disability is important, it is just a part of you and not the whole thing.
3. You are your best advocate. You know yourself best. You know what you need to do your best and what will help you to accomplish a task. With that, you’ll need to stand up for yourself at times and make sure you get those things. Sometimes it will be easy to get what you need and other times you may need to fight for it.
4. Many people around the world also have disabilities. About one-fifth of the world’s population have disabilities. That is over 100 million people. You are not alone.
5. You won’t outgrow your disability, but you will develop strategies. As you learn and grow, you will learn strategies to help you cope and compensate for the challenges you deal with. These strategies will help you become a stronger person. While you can’t “outgrow” your disability, you can most certainly get better at dealing with the challenges it brings.
6. Some people still do not recognize or understand disabilities. While many people have knowledge about disabilities, there are still many who do not. Some misconceptions about disabilities still exist. Remember not to take this personally. Instead, use it as an opportunity to educate others.
7. Not all parts of your disability are bad. Many times, a disability helps to highlight or bring forth other strengths inside of you. Kids and young adults with ADHD, for example, are often very creative and innovative. They are known to think outside the box. Those with autism can be known to have a particular attention to detail like no one else. Kids with learning disabilities may have a special drive and determination, able to overcome the biggest challenges. Others might have lots of empathy or compassion. Those are just a few small examples. Simply put, there are positives to each disability, so make sure to find yours.
8. Everyone has challenges. When you have the label of a disability, it’s easy to feel different or singled out. Keep in mind that everyone experiences difficulties and challenges in some form, whether or not they are labeled as a disability. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean someone else isn’t struggling. We all have challenges we deal with every day.
9. It’s okay to be open about your disability. Keeping disabilities secret and hidden have created a feel that they are taboo or bad. When you are ready, it’s okay to open up to loved ones and friends about your disability. The people who care about you will understand and can be there to listen when needed. Take your time and share at your own pace, but when you do finally open up, it’s going to set you free a bit.
10. You can be anything you aspire to be and more. Hold on to your hopes, goals, and dreams. You are a unique person who is capable of anything. Believe in yourself, work hard, and you can do anything in this world.
Get the FREE printable “10 Truths Kids with Disabilities Should Know” and use it today! It includes a reflection sheet for kids and young adults to reflect upon the 10 truths. It would be a great activity in a resource class, small counseling group, or just at the beginning of the year.
I am a special education teacher who loves working with kids and young adults with disabilities. Consider checking out some of my free and paid resources for kids with special needs here at my store.