Caring for kids with disability
Like all kids, children and young people with disability need the care of a loving adult in a safe and happy home, time with friends and access to a wide range of life experiences. There are some training programs designed specifically for carers of kids with disability; talk to your caseworker to find out how you might be able to access these.
Social skills for kids with disability
Kids with disability can face a range of physical, learning, behavioural and communication challenges. These challenges can make it hard to make friends and interact socially.
Friendships and social interactions help children and young people develop new skills. The more a child practises these skills and gains acceptance from peers, the more their confidence grows.
Here are some practical ways you can help develop the social skills of the child or young person in your care, keeping in mind their age and developmental capacity:
- encourage them to look at people and use basic greetings when they meet others
- model the kind of social behaviour you want to encourage, for example,listening and responding to others, using appropriate body language, starting a conversation, sharing information and dealing positively with conflict
- play with them and practise things such as sharing toys and taking turns
- if sharing is a challenge, have duplicates made of favourite toys and remember to have enough play materials for everyone to share
- when other kids are around, plan activities you know the child or young person can do confidently
- choose toys, books, videos, music, art and other materials they and other children will enjoy
- praise them when a social situation is going well by telling them they have done a good job
- notice if they’re getting tired or overwhelmed and help them manage their feelings
- don’t force them to interact if they want to be alone
- don’t overreact if they’re being ignored or left out or if they are behaving in a socially inappropriate way.