Tonawanda News — You’ve just finished shopping and are waiting in line to be checked out when you feel something or someone touching your hand. Your first reaction is probably nervousness and maybe a little fear as to who would be doing this socially unacceptable act. However, when you look down at your hand you see a young, innocent child whose attention was drawn to your jewelry. What do you do? If I told you the child in this situation was “special needs,” would it change your reaction?
Keep in mind that your initial reaction to this situation can have a good or adverse affect on this child. The term special needs is used to describe children who might need extra help because of medical, emotional, physical or learning problem. The special need is the help, support or in some cases, 24/7 assistance in order for them to live a balanced and comfortable life. Other support for these children can include medicine, therapy or aides in school or at home. Often times, the simple act of shopping which we enjoy, can become an overwhelming amount of stimulation for these children. Too many distractions such as people, sounds, items, bright lights and movement can cause confusion and frustration for these children.
My niece Saray, now 10 years old, was adopted from Guatemala by my sister and brother-in-law when she was 10 months old. To look at her was to love her. She arrived in the U.S. with olive skin, a little round belly, and lots of hair and a great sense of rhythm when music played. Unfortunately for Saray, she was born into a situation she didn’t ask for, and one that nobody would wish on anyone else. Like any other infant, she needed love, shelter and safety. But for Saray, everything she needed to learn to develop into a healthy child was difficult.