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Some tips to support children with multiple disabilities

When you have a child with multiple disabilities, it brings with it many challenges. It does not mean the end of the tunnel, but the start of a new beginning.

Children with multiple disabilities can be supported in many ways to become self-reliant and independent. That can happen if parents believe in the child and are patient.

The needs and requirements of a child with multiple disabilities vary and this is important to understand to help the child to focus on his/her strengths.

Asha Pradeep, parent to a child with multiple disabilities, says it is important to let the child be happy.

Parents must understand the character of their child and constantly encourage them. Parents tend to look at the child's disabilities instead of motivating them. They are often kept inside the four walls of their houses with no opportunities to explore the outside world. A child with disabilities understands things and wants to be happy.Never confine or shut them down. It might bring challenges and difficulties to parents. But more than what we undergo, happiness of the child is most important. - Asha Pradeep, Parent

Here are some tips to support children with multiple disabilities:

  • Believe in your child - Look at him/her as individuals who can do exceedingly well in life. There are many renowned people across the world with multiple disabilities who have done exceptionally well, one of the main reasons being their parents.loved ones believed in them and supported them.
  • Work together - Parents must work along with the child and understand what they love doing best. It could be music or art therapy. Activities like these do wonders for the child's development.
  • Be patient - Handling a child with multiple disabilities can be quite challenging and stressful for the parent. So be very patient. Some children might have mood swings and can get temperamental. But as a parent, it is important to be patient with your child so that they can develop skills gradually. Wait for the child to respond to new things that they learn.
  • Develop group goals - The child and parent can work together in this. This can be regarding some day to day activity or something that the child loves to do. Coordinate with them and ensure that you and your child work together in achieving set targets and goals. This will help in the child in many ways.

Chitra Shah, Principal, Satya Special School in Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, says technology can be a boon for children with multiple disabilities. Since the requirement of every child varies, parents must be supportive and never give up.

"Primarily, parents must understand what the child can and cannot do. There is no point pushing the child because that does not help because multiple disabilities involve a combination of special needs and some children are even hesitant to try", says Shah.

No doubt, parenting a child with a multiple disability can be hard. You cannot do it alone. So, look for support groups and counsellors who can help you.

ALSO READ: 21 disabilities under RPWD 2016 - Multiple Disabilities

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