As children with physical challenges age, their differences can become more apparent. The toddler stage will find kids exploring their surroundings and themselves. Learn how to help your toddler face their physical challenges.
Firstly, a physical challenge doesn’t diminish your child in any way. Positive acceptance of the physical challenge whether it be due to an accident or birth, is needed to help the toddler accept who they are. Give all the love and support that you can to your toddler as they learn and grow.
Toddlers normally find it frustrating to try and do something and not succeed. A child with physical challenges will be equally frustrated. At this stage of development, a child has no idea that they are any different from any other child. They will follow their instincts when it comes to playing, talking, and moving.
When the physical challenge involves missing limbs, most toddlers will compensate. That is one of the extraordinary things about young children — they can learn to adapt as long as their parents will help them. For example, a child born with one leg will crawl awkwardly because their balance is off. Parents can aid their crawling with a rolling board to help support them and give balance. Developmental aids are available online for toddlers and other age groups.
Toddlers with other physical challenges will need more assistance. Any physical challenge that impairs normal learning poses a unique dilemma for parents and the child. A toddler who can’t see won’t be able to recognize colors, for example. For them, a different learning pathway involving touch and speaking will aid their development. A toddler who can’t hear can use sight and touch to learn new concepts.
All children need repetition early in life in order to learn. A toddler with a physical challenge will likely test a parent’s patience while they are learning. The process of teaching a child with physical needs can be frustrating for the parent who wants so desperately for their child not to fall behind.
The important thing to remember is that a toddler with physical challenges is different. That doesn’t mean they can’t learn but that it will take more time to do so. And, parents may have to try various approaches until they find one that their toddler responds to.
Handling a toddler is not easy even without physical challenges. To manage, find a support group in your area. Support groups are often necessary for parents to come to terms with the reality of their child’s life. In the beginning, it may be too painful to sit with others and discuss your child. An alternative is to opt for online support groups where you can talk openly with other struggling parents but cry in private if you need to.
A toddler with physical challenges needs love, support, and understanding. And like all small children, they are curious and learn their way from their parents. It is our job to provide a safe learning environment using all the resources available to us.