How to explain special needs

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    This has happened a few times, that my son would tell me about a child that is very bold but in actually fact the child has special needs ( such as Autism / adhd etc) & i find it hard to explain to my son (just 5)? He shys away from the child.

    How do you put it in words to your kids, so that they understand but that you dont offend anyone & encourage them not to shy away?

    Sorry probably simple to others but im struggling finding the right words.


    I have always said we all have extra needs – some people wear glasses , hearing aids etc and they have a need too

    maybe that child needs help with how he behaves….
    There is nobody NORMAL….

    Its great that u are having that conversation with your child and not shying away..

    Look at the Paralympics for people with physcial disability – what we see or look at Special Olympics for people with intellectual disabilty – what we sometimes don’t see. i always look for the positives in people.

    Hope that helps..


    Thanks for that. Good explaination.

    He has deaf & wheelchair bound people in his family and has no problem with them, they are the norm to him.

    His favourite cousin has aspergers (sp) & he doesnt have problem with him behaving badly, he says he is funny. He loves him to bits & always wants to play with him but although they are the same age my son is like a big brother to his cousin.

    I suppose its really children who he doesnt know very well, who’s special need causes them to be disruptive that he sees it as being bold, that he shys away from.

    I find it hard because on one hand im telling him not to behave like that but on another hand im then telling him that its ok that the other child behaved like that, that they didnt mean it or they couldnt help it.

    Maybe he’s a bit too young to understand yet, im not sure. Im probably over thinking it all.


    Our son plays with a few boys and one of them has special needs – he has aspergers. The boys mam explained to the kids that sometimes her son gets upset or angry about things and he reacts in a different way to them because his brain works a little differently. Once she explained this to them, they seemed to understand fine and they take it in their stride with him most of the time.

    She has asked them not to taunt him to get him going because he can lash out sometimes but they seem to know that he cannot help it and the kids are quite good with him.

    I think she handled the situation brilliantly, she just told them out straight that his brain works a little differently and that he gets upset sometimes over things that would not bother them. Its good to be open in these situations but if you need some help explaining, ask the parents how they would like you to handle it or maybe get some advice from the school?

    My son is 9 so I think its easier to explain it to them when they are a little older. Your little one is only 5, in a year or two it will be easier to explain it.

    HTH and thanks for posting this, its a good topic – its better to discuss and be open about these issues, it takes the taboo away from them.


    Thanks for replies.

    Had a chat with ds about this and used Libbys line, "maybe that child needs help with how he behaves" & from Sabbi, his brain works a little differently.

    I liked both answers as it explained things to him simply, he seemed to understand & if he repeats it (as kids do) he hopefully wont offend anyone.


    My neighbour has a little boy with Downs Syndrome. My kids have played with her kids since they were tots. My ds started to notice that something was different a year or two ago and asking questions. He was a bit freaked out by the way the other boy behaves.

    I asked my neighbour how she explained to her other kids and she said that she told her daughter that he had Downs Syndrome which meant it took him longer to learn things. I gave my ds the same explanation. When my dd gets to the stage where she asks questions – I will tell her the same. All 5 children play together happilyand it is not an issue.

    Recently the little fella started school and get collected by a special bus. My ds asked if the school was for people who talked funny. I gave out to him for that. He then said "What – he is different – it is ok to be different mammy".


    Thanks, very helpfull post.


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