The words “special needs” might make you assume there is something or someone deformed or broken. But the opposite is true. While special needs children do have unique challenges and gifts, they are also just kids who like to play tag and draw pictures. They are also children that need teachers to learn how to get them to use their strengths every day.
As a teacher, it is not easy to teach kids with special needs. There are many challenges in teaching kids with disabilities and one of those challenges is discovering their strengths. This sometimes can be difficult for the teachers. However, there are some ways you can discover the strengths of children with special needs even if they can’t communicate.
6 Ways to Discover Strengths of Special Needs Children
One of the most important things a teacher can do is find out what their student’s strengths are. Reading, writing, and arithmetic are all well and good, but to be truly successful in life students have to know their strengths. Through trial and error, many people figure out what their strengths are and grow from there.
1. Listening to kids is a good start
When you listen, put aside your opinions for the time being. Don’t try to fit the child into a neat category or label. Don’t make assumptions about what they can or cannot do, or what their future will hold. Listen to their parents and their teachers, but take everything with a grain of salt.
2. Keep all the things in order and plan ahead
Keep all the things in order. It helps you explore your child’s strengths and weaknesses properly. You can also guide your child properly if you have a proper understanding of her strengths and weaknesses.
3. Find out the fields that the child shows interest in
The best way to discover the strengths of a child is to pay attention to what interests them. This can be done by paying attention to what they do when they’re on their own and by observing them playing with other children.
When a child plays on her own, you can see what his interests are by watching him. A child might enjoy looking after dolls or toy animals, building towers with blocks, painting or drawing pictures, or playing a musical instrument. These activities show that the child enjoys caring for others, solving problems, and being creative.
4. Talk to them about what they enjoy doing
One way to start is to observe them. Do they have a preference for music? Art? Acting? Writing?
Talk to them about what they enjoy doing. Sometimes the things that come most naturally are the things that are not work at all but fun.
Talk with people who know them well like teachers, tutors, and therapists. If they have siblings talk with them about their interests and needs.
5. Keep a journal of specific things that you have observed about your child’s strengths and talents
Keep a journal of specific things that you have observed about your child’s strengths and talents. These could include character traits such as kindness, tenderness, empathy for others, joy in the face of adversity, creativity, humor, or love for nature.
Pay attention to your child’s passions and interests. What does he or she seem most drawn to?
It is important to focus on the strengths of these children and there are many time capsule stories that have been told. This idea was enhanced in 1990, when Dr. Dorothy Robinson released her paper titled, Thriving on Difficulties. Her research showed that people who are subjected to multiple difficulties, both developmental as well as situational, have a higher chance of thriving than those people who had a single difficulty.
This idea can be applied to special needs children with disabilities and their disabilities can be grouped in development, situational, or a combination of both. That explains why many of these children are more successful than other children with similar disabilities because they have strengths that were not explored in their past experiences.
We hope that you have enjoyed this article and have found it helpful in broadening your understanding of special needs children. Learning about their strengths and weaknesses can help you gain a better understanding of why they react to situations the way they do, and you can use this knowledge to lead them towards positive outcomes.