Keeping Our Children Safe

Generally, children with special needs are extremely vulnerable so protecting them from any harm is such an important issue for parents. Fortunately, there are so many online resources on learning safety skills but learning to navigate the real world involves many complex skills, requires time and practice in a variety of settings bearing in mind that the goal is not just to learn a skill but the child’s ability to incorporate it into everyday life for use at home, school, community, in the neighborhood, church, malls, parks and even at events.

To achieve this, you need to identify your child’s safety needs so you can understand it, prepare for it, practice it and share it with everyone that is connected or involved in working with your child. However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach regardless of the child’s level of needs but there are different methods that can be used in teaching and practicing the required skill. This include;

  1. Modeling
  2. Behavioral training
  3. Rehearsals (in mock and natural settings)
  4. Videos
  5. Breaking skills down into smaller action steps.

You might not use all but will be able to figure out what works for your child.

Example: Home Safety

Imagine your home as your child’s learning environment

  • Place pictures, symbols, labels, stickers to identify items (in the kitchen, living room, room, bathroom)
  • Write clear or specific instruction on the item along-side the picture, symbol, label, sticker (to enable the child associate picture with instruction)
  • Break down actions/steps into smaller units (to demonstrate interaction between people or things)
  • Keep it simple and short
  • Use picture to tell the story
  • Model with his sibling or the child (pretend play)
  • Teach, test and practice repeatedly
  • Share the skills learned with all parties involved and get feedback
  • Provide positive rein-enforcement to the child on skills performed in the right order.

This will help you to:

  • Set expectations and discourage unsafe behaviours
  • Set boundaries and limits
  • Keep the child and items organised

Make the child more comfortable and less frustrated