It is difficult for parents of mentally challenged child to lead a normal life. Most of their life revolves around the activities of their child and it is a blessing if somebody offers help to baby-sit their child so that they can do some socializing.
But often it is seen that most of the people offer help out of sympathy. Many do not have proper etiquette when they are visiting a family of a mentally challenged child.
Some of them ignore the presence of such child. This makes the family very uncomfortable. The right approach would be to talk to the child, say hello or a smile to acknowledge his/her presence. The eye contact is very important which is the bridge to reach out to the child. But please don’t overdo it. The communication is just to convey that you accept his/her handicap and can understand his limitations.
Special children have no patience to wait for long at Doctor’s clinic. If you see the child having difficult time, don’t judge the parents. It is not their fault. Ask if you can help, but if you are asked to stay away, just smile encouragingly and leave.
Inappropriate behavior can manifest itself in different ways but don’t be surprised. A mentally challenged child has lower IQ and an autistic child may be playing oddly. He may grab food you are eating; he may be repeating meaningless phrases over and over again. You have to use your common sense, accept, smile and don’t be judgmental. The less self-conscious the child feels, the more likely the situation is to resolve itself. Parents know their child and they know how to react but if you interfere, you are likely to spoil the situation.
Autistic children and those with Down’s syndrome are bright, creative and thoughtful. Just accept them for who they are and love them no matter how they behave. Those who are non verbal and non-responsive also understand your moods and they will relax if they are comfortable.
If you really wish to understand these children, visit a special school in your area and spend an hour or two observing their behavior and you attitude is likely to change.
Special children are loving people and you will be surprised of the amount of happiness you are likely to bring back home with you after spending a wonderful day with them.