Developing Socialization Skills in Children with Special Needs
Socialization is an integral part of a child’s development. This prepares him for his role in the society and lets him operate and move successfully in the world he lives in. His socialization and interaction during his tender years will determine the kind of social relationship he will have when he becomes an adult.
Making friends and participating in social activities is important to a growing child, but how about children with special needs and special abilities? Their condition must not spare them from developing social relationship with the people around them. For one, interaction creates a positive impact to them psychologically and makes them feel a sense of belonging.
Due to widespread information about special abilities like autism, Down syndrome, and similar conditions, people are becoming more and more aware of the facts and misconception of children with special needs and it is not as hard anymore to introduce them to the society.
Parents must take advantage of this. If your child attends a regular school, request the teacher if she could extend a small effort to encourage other kids to let your child to participate in games and other activities. This way, your child is exposed to new things beyond his zone. You may participate in organisations that handle similar conditions.
Plan a “day out” for the kids and encourage fellow parents to organize the same in a regular manner. Apart from social activities, teach your child on how to interact with people. A simple “hello” to the neighbour, a handshake, initiating conversation, smiling, and similar acts go a long way in his social skills. His interpersonal skills will make them realize that he can be treated as a normal person despite his special needs.
In developing socialization, the most important factor is to let him go out of his comfort zone as he enjoys and learns from the people he interacts with. As a parent, you should not hide his condition and instead, allow him to participate in your activities and be surrounded with people like a normal child. He will learn a lot from it and will adapt actions and even make sound decisions in the long run.
Teaching socialization to children with special needs may be a chore, but like any other endeavour, it just takes few adjustments in the beginning but all flows well if done confidently and in a regular basis.