Help Prevent Abuse of Special Needs Children
Children with special needs are at least two times more likely to be abused than children without special needs. Special needs may include physical, mental, emotional or developmental conditions.
- Help children build a healthy and positive self-esteem. Start when they are babies. Praise their accomplishments and let them know how much you believe in them.
- Teach children that it is ok to politely say "no."
- Help children develop healthy boundaries. Teach them that their bodies belong to them and nobody should touch them without their permission. Don't force children to give or receive kisses or sit in the lap of family or friends if they are uncomfortable. Teach them they have the right to refuse touches that make them feel uncomfortable.
- Teach children to express their feelings. Listen to your children and help them find ways to talk about their feelings.
- Help children express their fears. Respect children's fears and help them deal with them.
- Teach communication skills. Even children who have trouble speaking need to show happiness, sadness, fear and the need for protection. If a child cannot speak, teach some simple signs that you both understand to mean things like "I need help," "I'm hurt," or "I'm afraid."
- Help children learn how to get along with others. Encourage children with special needs to play with other children.
- Teach children to seek help. Let children know that they should always tell you about anything that makes them feel uncomfortable or anyone who hurts them, no matter what that person says. Help children feel comfortable talking to you about everything.
For more information on caring for children with special needs, contact National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities at 1-800-695-0285 or visit them on the internet at www.nichcy.org.
IN PARTNERSHIP PROTECTING OUR CHILDREN