What to say to mainstream children about my special needs daughter? — Scope | Disability forum
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What to say to mainstream children about my special needs daughter?

Saffy22 Member Posts: 6 Connected

I have a daughter who is 4 & a half, she has started school in sept. She is doing a shared placement 1 day in mainstream at the moment & 4 days in special school, both schools are fab although it's not been easy to get where we are today. My little girl has quad cp, she can be both high & low muscle tone.

My question is that at mainstream the children are asing a lot of questions & not sure what to say to them, they have asked about her cool chair & staff have said her legs don't work properly. The children have accepted her & she loves going there.
Many thanks for any comments



  • niceboots
    niceboots Member Posts: 196 Pioneering
    Hi, my experience both as a child and adult, is that if you explain things children accept peoples differences a lot more than if they are not explained to them.
    I went to mainstream school, my primary school took lots of children with disabilities, so people with differences were normal to the children there, as lots of children had physio, used wheelchairs, wore splints etc. and that was just accepted.

    When I went to secondary I was the only person with a disability, and was treated a bit differently by other children that didn't go to the same primary school as me, but when they were told why I walked differently, wore splints, had physio when everyone else was doing sports etc. they just seemed to accept that was just part of me having cp.
    hope this helps
  • Saffy22
    Saffy22 Member Posts: 6 Connected
    Thank u, think we have decided to go with a story from scope & if they anymore questions I will be happy to answer x x x
  • MrsM
    MrsM Member Posts: 3
    Hello saffy,

    I'd agree with niceboots...my 7 year old daughter attends a mainstream school and has spastic CP, when she was in nursery the school introduced her to the class and told them all about her needs and support she would have to have...they accepted that brilliantly.
    Then she had to have surgery this year and the kids were still sooo fantastic with her....pushing her around in her wheels and getting things for her when she wasn't able...I think being honest with children helps both your child and those of her class mates to accept that she may be different.

    I do have worries for the secondary school part but will just have to worry about that when it comes...please not too quickly tho!! ;)

    MrsM x
  • renacahill
    renacahill Member Posts: 145
    My grandson is quite affected by his quad athetoid cp (GMFS 4) but attends mainstream primary. He is just 5. We just say his body doesnt do what its told! It has been a fabulous experience for him so far. We too dont look too far forward, but take each day as it comes. He loves his school and amazingly, the children love him too :-)
  • kingboy25
    kingboy25 Member Posts: 57 Listener
    I have two four old unrelated foster children one of whom has Athetoid C.P but mobilises very energetically on all fours. I explained to the able child that the disabled child's balance didn't work very well. I was in pleats one morning when I heard the able child enquire very tenderly if his F.B.s balance was better yet. They played together very well.
  • libismum
    libismum Member Posts: 13
    Hi our daughter is now 8 and has been in our mainstream village school since she was 3. She has CP and epilepsy , she wears a second skin Lycra suit, AFOs and uses a wheel chair for part f the dy , has R82 seating and an all terrain 3wheeler for forest schools etc. we have discovered that children are refreshingly honest and are genuinley interested in their friend. The only issues we have experienced have been when staff have tried to brush this under the carpet. Last year libi planned and delivered workshops for her class that explained how the messages from her brain get scrambled, the children tried out her wheel chair, put an old Lycra suit onto a teddy, had a sit in her R82 seating to play Chinese whispers and even tried her AFOs on. I was invited along and it was fabulous to hear the children asking questions and broadening their understanding. It has supported inclusion in such a positive way, they understand now why she can't play chasing games and ave invented some really lovely ways to include her at playtime. Libi has some issues with dribbling, chewing and swallowing and these had been noticed by the other children. Her Speech therapist visited the class and they all had a fab lesson on how eating works etc.i think the trick is to offer the information in an honest way when they ask xx
  • Nuala Watt
    Nuala Watt Member Posts: 30 Listener
    Hi - I have spastic diplegia and a visual impairment, I went to mainstream primary and secondary schools. I agree with a lot of the people on this thread - small children are generally very good at accepting disabilities if you explain things honestly - I noticed that somebody said they had solved the issue by saying their child's body didn't do what it was told - good call, i usually just say that my brain and my muscles don't talk to each other as much as they should - if cerebral palsy were a country it would have a terrible postal service, I wouldn't worry about it - children are often much better at accepting these things than adults. They haven't learnt to be scared of disability. Try not to be too nervous when they ask questions - cp is normal and really quite boring once you get used to it. Good luck - there may be some bumps, but it will turn out well - I promise you,
  • Naomi
    Naomi Member Posts: 29 Listener
    It's really nice to hear all these comments and I really hope they help. I just wanted to add one thing, when my daughter was at primary school we were very friendly with a family with a daughter with severe CP. The school were very good with explaining her condition in simple language to the children, but according to my daughter some of the children, saw her chair as a big toy and would try and use the controls when they were in the playground. This was not out of malevolence, but I think teachers also need to say that the equipment has to be treated carefully as it can break.
    The question of what to say to older children is interesting and I would love to hear other's thoughts on this. My thirteen year old daughter is asking how to explain her brother's condition to other pupils at school (who are acquaintances rather than her friends). Her brother has severe learning difficulties and a host of other problems as a result of a brain haemorrhage. She would like a quick answer which would stop her having to go into any kind of detail. (She's quite shy.) Any thoughts would be much appreciated!


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