I’ve blogged about this before I know, but I think this is a subject well worth talking about again. The subject in question is being aware of where your Exceptional Child shines, and as a result of that, coming up with social and career opportunities where they could do just that. I’ve talked before about how Michael loves navigating to different places using Google Maps. We are now trying to broaden his interest of just staying local in our city, and getting him to venture out further in the world. He has done that on his own, and we are encouraging it further. Michael also loves cooking so Dad and I have allowed him a day or two during the week where he can choose all or part of the menu of what to serve. He loves to watch certain cooking videos and has even looked at recipes in recipe books. Both have sparked his interest in cooking. Finally, he has some interest in music, singing and playing certain musical instruments. We have bought him as a result a toy piano, guitar, ukelele and a marching drum to help foster that interest. No matter which one he is most interested in at the time, we know it could help jump start something else completely, some new interest that could end up leading to a possible career one day and/or being active in the community in some meaningful way.
It is so important to follow our children’s interest, including when they have exceptional needs. All children are capable of helping or doing something meaningful. Don’t listen to what other people may say who would tell you not to put too much hope or get too excited. Get excited! Your child is special and has a purpose here like all of us, exceptional or not. They will do something incredible if only they have the people around them who believe in them and the support that they need. What are ways to foster this kind of support?
1) See what their interests are and where they lay.
2) Expose them to different people, environments and activities. You’ll see something stick after a while.
3) Go where exceptional and neurotypical kids play. Your child will benefit from activities only geared towards kids with different brains and challenges as well as neuro typical kids. The differences in the courses will challenge them, and can bring out some interesting results.
4) Check out schools, camps, restaurants and neighboring businesses with your child. Have them known in the community so that one day if they are looking for a job, people know they are there. Become more involved in a religious organization (if you are religious and attend one) and see if there are opportunities for your child to shine there. Check out lay or non-religious community centers for the same reason.
5) Let people know your child’s strengths. You never know who may want some help, know of a program or opportunity that could build up your child’s confidence.
Exceptional Parents, what is your Exceptional Child good at? What are his/her strengths? What are his/her weaknesses? Watch what makes them coming alive- music, science, art, people, cooking, and encourage that. Often in summer camp programs, you can find lots of activities that center around these things too. Sign your child up there with or without a helper, depending on their capability. But in the end, what matters the most is what you think of them and how much you believe in them. That will help them believe in themselves all the more. Until next time.
Are you the parent of an Exceptional Child struggling with how best to handle challenging behavior? Are you worried about development, anxiety, or doubting your abilities to help your child become the best they can be? I can help you find your confidence as a parent again. For more information about my journey and coaching programs, check out my website: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Let me help personalize tools that will help your Exceptional family thrive!