Allah has given some of us more abilities in some areas than others. Some are known for their speed of legs, others for their articulate speach, and then some for their highly intelligent mind. Then there are those who are known for their disabilities in some areas. Some are blind, deaf, or have physical handicaps or intellectual deficiencies.
One type of mental deficiency is mental retardation (sometimes known as intellectual disability or cognitive disability). Another is the broad range of learning disabilities. One thing parents of children with intellectual disabilities and learning disabilities should remember when managing their children is that they don’t have to correct every mistake and error that their child makes. If it’s not earth shattering, it probably can be ignored. If the bed spread leans all the way on the floor with little left for the other side, the sky won’t fall down.
Remember, your child with an intellectual disability lacks certain cognitive skills and maturity. So she isn’t likely to complete tasks optimally. Neither is her behavior going to be totally complicit. For these reasons, children with intellectual disabilities and learning disabilities need to be reassured of your love. Their self-doubts make them needy for continuous reinforcement of your love for them. They need to regularly hear from you that you love them. So say it to them often. They also need to feel needed; let them help you cook, clean, serve meals—even if it means more of the biscuit flour will spill on the counter, spots of dust will remain on the end table, or some of the served dinner might slide off the plate at times.
View mishaps as learning opportunities for your child. Try to overlook the accidents and clumsiness. Experience is one of the best ways for your child with an intellectual disability or learning disability to learn life skills.
This is an excerpt from Grandma Jeddah’s e-Book: Discipline without Disrespecting: Discover the Hidden Secrets of How to Effectively Discipline Your Muslim Child—And Keep Your Peace of Mind While at It. To order her e-Book or receive her free newsletter, visit her at www.grandmajeddah.com