First encounter with special needs child
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|Thu, 10-16-2003 - 11:56am|
We are having dinner tomorrow night with dh's co-workers and their families. One co-worker is the mom of 2 girls, one of which has multiple physical and developmental disabilities - impaired vision, cerebral palsy, paralysis of half her body, etc. She is 3.5 years old but cannot walk or talk, and she visibly has disabilities (what I'm trying to say here is that her face is very different from most children's).
I'm nervous about how my dd will handle this meeting, and I'm afraid she'll say something or act in a way that makes the girl or her mom uncomfortable. My dd has seen people in wheelchairs at the store and what have you, and she stares with interest. But she's never actually encountered someone with physical disabilities.
Can you please give me some tips on correct/appropriate words to say in front of the family, if needed? I think if we were alone, I would explain to dd that this girl is just a little different and she's special, and she is a kid just like her. What do I do if dd is afraid of the girl? Or asks what's wrong with her? (she does that a lot when we see someone with a "boo boo" like a cast or something). Or if she notes aloud that "she no eat by herself" or some such phrase.
DH and I are happy to have lunch with all these people, and we think it's great to expose dd to this situation and a child with special needs, but I want to be sure that I'm sensitive, and I don't use words that may upset anyone.
Thanks in advance for the advice!