Tactful Ways to Talk to Your Child About Their Disability

Tactful Ways to Talk to Your Child About Their Disability

Children with disabilities tend to suffer insecurities and low self-esteem, which might affect their mental well-being.

As a parent, it is essential to learn how to talk to your child about their disability to provide the necessary support for your child.

One way to discuss your child's disability with them is to accept your child's disability and be factual about it.

It is apparent that your child is disabled, and there is mostly nothing you can do about it.

It is therefore essential to acknowledge your child's disability and all that the disability entails.

Another way is to train your child on how to respond to others who ask them about their disabilities.

Children with physical disabilities would likely encounter people asking them about their disabilities.

When your child has knowledge and training on how to converse with people about their disability, they will feel safer and more confident.

It would also be helpful to capitalize on the strength of your disabled child.

Everyone has their strengths, and your disabled child also has strengths.

If your disabled child is good at math or art, it is essential to remind them and other people of their skills.

Read on to improve your knowledge of the diplomatic ways to talk to your child about their disability:

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Jenifer Seas, LCSW

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Naomi Kettner, LPC, NCC

Naomi Kettner, LPC, NCC

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Hailey Gloden, MA, LPC, NCC

Hailey Gloden, MA, LPC, NCC

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Margot Bean, LCSW

Margot Bean, LCSW

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Identify and Acknowledge the Disability 

You might want to avoid conversations about your child's disability because of the fear that it would make your disabled child feel bad.

It is necessary to let them know that you acknowledge their disability when you talk to your child about their disability.

Reading more about your child's disability would also give you a full grasp of the disability.

It would help to tell your disabled child about their disability and do so factually.

Let your child know every detail concerning their disability, including what they can or cannot do.

The information will protect your disabled child and encourage them to accept and speak to others about it.

Also, it is essential to note your language when talking to your child about their disability.

Avoid using body language or tone that evokes pity, as it can affect their self-esteem and self-image.

Let your child understand that despite their disability, they are not inferior to their peers.

Furthermore, you can study your child to know how their disability affects their physical and emotional health so you can adequately support them.

Acknowledging your disabled child's disability is vital to make them feel safe.

Train Your Child on How to Respond to Questions About Their Disability 

Children with disabilities often encounter questioning from strangers about their disabilities.

It is not far-fetched that your disabled child has experienced this before.

Teaching your disabled child what to say in this situation is an excellent way to talk to your child about their disability.

Strangers and peers at school often coerce children to discuss their disabilities.

Let your child know they have the choice to speak about their disability.

Freedom to choose when to talk or not to talk about their disability gives your child a sense of control, thus, improving their confidence.

Also, it prevents them from answering when they are not in the right frame to answer.

Furthermore, you can provide a list of answers to questions that strangers frequently ask.

This way, your child does not struggle with the right words when faced with such questions.

Instead, your child is calm, assertive, and fully aware of the situation.

Your disabled child may be unable to escape questions from curious friends and strangers.

Therefore, training them on what they can say when in this situation is necessary.

Emphasize Your Child's Strengths

Everyone has that thing they are extremely good at doing.

Your disabled child is not an exception.

When you talk to your child about their disability, you should not focus only on the disability but also speak to them about their strengths.

It is easy for the disability of your child to overshadow their skills.

However, it would be best if you reminded them that there is more to them than their disability.

For instance, if your disabled child is good at art, it would help to maximize their talent by taking them to art classes and encouraging them to do better.

It would also help to tell people about their abilities before mentioning their disabilities.

Studies have also shown that disabled people possess specific character strengths.

Some of the most prevalent character strengths among disabled people include; learning, honesty, kindness, and fairness.

You can study your disabled child to know their most potent character trait and help them develop it.

Generally, parents of a disabled child tend to get distracted by their child's disability.

However, by capitalizing on the strengths of disabled children, they develop a healthy perception of themselves. 

Identify Disabled Role Models

Children are in their formative years and often learn better through examples.

A tactful way to talk to your child about their disability is to show them models of people with similar disabilities who are doing well for themselves.

Disabled children can quickly get frustrated or discouraged because of their disability.

However, showing them people who succeeded, despite their challenges, would inspire them to do better for themselves.

Similarly, it would improve their outlook on life through the lens of their disability.

For example, if your disabled child is interested in sports, you can read about athletes who have a similar disability to your child and became very successful in their careers.

You can also go to the extent of contacting the person to mentor your child.

Generally, children with mentors and role models often do better in life because mentors help young people navigate the challenging transition to adulthood.

Introducing your child to a mentor who succeeded despite their disability would motivate and encourage them to strive for success. 

Be Honest

Honesty is the bedrock of solid relationships.

Building a strong relationship with your disabled child is essential because your child needs all the emotional support to function with their disability.

Your child is aware of their disability, so lying when you talk to your child about their disability would do more harm and good to the parent-child relationship you have built.

Similarly, being honest about what your child cannot do because of his disability would be helpful.

If your child's disability affects their legs, you should let them know that they cannot participate in activities like playing football.

Instead, it would be best if you encouraged them to engage in fun activities like chess or scrabble, where their disability wouldn't be a hindrance.

Openness with your disabled child helps with improving the self-awareness of the child.

Also, being honest helps to imbibe the culture of honesty in the child, and you are usually the first person they tell when they face challenges.

A disabled child needs a safe space to function correctly.

You can only nurture a safe space with your child by building a relationship you base on honesty with them.


Children are in their most important and formative years.

Their mental health is essential at this stage of their lives.

It is therefore vital to provide them with the relevant child support to scale successfully through this stage.

For disabled children, learning how to discuss their disability with them is very important for their mental well-being.

To talk to your child about their disability, as a parent, you need to identify and acknowledge their disability, capitalize on their strengths, identify role models, train them on responding to questions about their disabilities, and be honest with them.


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June 18th, 2024

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