I’ve been thinking about positive communication and good things to say to parents of a child with a disability. (By saying I mean communication in general terms rather than simply words.)
Stranger passing in the street
Hello saying hello is a nice thing to do.
Smile you can’t go wrong with a smile.
Open the door when out with a wheelchair someone opening a door and smiling at you can feel like a breath of fresh air.
Meeting a stranger in a planned situation, e.g. waitress in a restaurant
All of the above plus
Look at my child and address them with something like, Whats your name?
Find a positive compliment or conversation to engage in,
I like the colour of your wheelchair or
What are you doing today?
Please don’t feel uncomfortable when I decline my son having anything to eat, and even if he can’t use it, I appreciate you giving him colouring things and balloons like his brother.
Follow my lead if I respond on my sons behalf, take that as his response and let’s enjoy some positive communication.
All of the above plus
Say something please don’t avoid a difficult conversation for fear of getting it wrong. Everyone puts their foot in it once in a while. If you are with a friend, express your desire to say the right thing even if the wrong thing comes out, that really is all anyone can ask
Ask me how best to interact with my son I really appreciate people wanting to know how to behave and what to say to engage with my son appropriately. Taking the time to ask and try to learn speaks volumes.
LISTEN on the whole people just want to be heard.
Relax the person you see now is the same person as before. Having a fun and a laugh together is still a good way to be friends.
So that’s it, I promise to avoid handing out any more advice in the near future. I encourage you to try out some positive communication. Hope you have a sunny bank holiday weekend/half term and if you get chance please take a peek at the microkid (my youngest son’s youtube channel), it would make his (and his Dad’s day!).
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