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this is to anyone who has a child with a disability

how do you tell kids whats wrong with your child more importantly how do you explain to your child that they have a disability like mental retardation? Please help

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Asked by angellkyle at 1:36 PM on Jun. 26, 2008 in Kids' Health

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Answers (8)
  • Use the simplest, most practical explanation. Avoid technical language. My daughter has developmental delays and can't walk. She wears leg braces. When kids ask I say her legs don't work as well as yours. If they want to know why I say "Just because." If your child is mentally retarded you could say "Her brain doesn't work as well as yours." It's fine to answer follow up questions "Just because" or if you are religious "That's how God made her."

    As to how to explain to your child, it really depends on the child's age and capacity.

    Join us in the Special Needs group for more advice.

    Answer by nell_brinkley at 1:44 PM on Jun. 26, 2008

  • I have a disabled child, and a "normal" one. (as bad as that sounds) When visiting a friend who has a severly autistic child with seizure disorders, my 5 yr old wanted to know what was wrong with him, I just told her that his brain didn't work like hers did, and that he was one of Gods angels that was sent to earth to teach people how to love EVERYONE, no matter how different they were. She then told me, "just like my brother". Yep.

    Answer by jsikapv at 4:31 PM on Jun. 26, 2008

  • Great question. Our son (4) will probably be diagnosed with high-functioning autism and I really haven't encountered having to explain him much, but recently, one of my neighbor's kids was trying to talk to him, and he wasn't answering back and she said something about it and I just said, "oh, he just doesn't understand". Some kids can be so innocent and sweet and my neighbor's little girl was.

    I also agree with the above answers. There was a little girl in my oldest son's kindergarten class who had braces on her legs and my son would always repeat what the teacher said -- that her legs weren't as strong as ours. I always thought that was so sweet.

    Answer by NovaChk at 9:34 PM on Jun. 26, 2008

  • my dd has cp and a feeding tube and when kids ask why she cant do things i just tell then that her arms and legs dont work like theres do and about the feeding tube i just say she cant eat like you so we have to put it in to her tummy for her

    as for telling her about it she is not old enuf to ask so i dont know about that one

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:17 AM on Jun. 27, 2008

  • My son, Kody, was diagnosed in 2003 with Friedreich's Ataxia. He was 7 years old at the time. Best way to explain things is to be honest with the child and use words that are age appropriate. Kody has always known there was something different and as he is getting older he knows more about it. It's better to let them know something is different rather then them allowing their imagination to run wild. Anything you have a question about please feel free to email me.

    Answer by moet61978 at 6:13 PM on Jul. 4, 2008

  • That's how God made him and he has talents- and we talk about them-and my boy just shows them off

    Answer by lifeisajoy at 12:34 AM on Jul. 23, 2008

  • If children ask why my sister is deaf, she's always said her 'ears are broken' or 'don't work'. i applaud any child and their parent who ask questions. it is the only way to be informed, and way better than staring and pointing if done tactfully!!


    Answer by TXdanielly at 9:02 PM on Jul. 27, 2008

  • My son is 11 with the mentality of a 3-5 year old. When people, specifically children ask why he doesn't talk or why he doesn't walk, I just tell them he can't learn as well as you can. He uses a different way to talk with gestures. Be honest with them in the easiest to understand language. My 3 year old daughter knows her brother is not like her and she always wants to help him.

    Answer by TLJC68 at 3:56 PM on Jan. 19, 2009

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