One of the best things you can do to help developmentally delayed kids is to get down and have fun with them. Playing with your kid will help you to bond, build up their confidence and help with their development, so it is really important.
Unfortunately, many parents find it difficult to engage their child in fun. Often developmentally delayed kids just don’t seem that interested in traditional play, or parents don’t know how to play with them.
If you’re a parent who’s struggling to play with your disabled child, don’t beat yourself up. Sometimes, kids with developmental issues need to learn how to play, and it isn’t as hard as you think to teach them.
Learn About ‘Average’ Levels of Play
Your child might not be the average, but it can be useful to read up on average levels of play and how these skills develop in typical children. Kids learn to do certain things, like play act and enjoy objects at different stages, with simple things like shaking a rattle coming first. Once you know this, you can take things slowly, starting with the earliest levels of play, building up until your kid can enjoy more exciting forms of fun. Unfortunately, some children will never get past the basic manipulation of objects as play, but that’s okay – as long as you know, you can help them to have fun the best way they know how.
Learn About their Disability
Whether your child has Down’s Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy or any other disability that affects their ability to play, it is useful to come to a high level of understanding about their illness and how it might affect their ability to have fun. If you try to engage them in play that is beyond their current abilities, they are more likely to become upset, refuse to engage or be frustrated.
Watch Your Child
Spend as much time as you can watching your child. See what they naturally like to do when you’re into actively engaging them in play and build on that. Leave a few different toys laying around for them to play with, and if they show a particular love of say dressing up a doll, having fun in a playhouse or doing a jigsaw, that should give you a few ideas about fun activities you can try together that they might really enjoy.
Having a developmentally disabled kid can be tough, but there are numerous people and equipment, such as carers and better wheelchairs, that can help you to more fully engage your child in fun activities. If your child’s disability was caused by an injury, a good birth injury lawyer may be able to help you obtain the funds you need to get these things for your child. If that isn’t possible, it’s always worth checking out local disability charities, that might be able to help.
Mix with Other Children
Sometimes, taking your child to a group or play center where they can meet other children will bring them out of their shell and encourage them to play more. However, the opposite can also be true, and some will retreat further into themselves, so if you try this, be sure to monitor the situation very carefully.
Whatever you do, don’t give up. Every child deserves to have a fun-filled life, and it’s just a matter of finding the right thing to help your child, that will change everything.