Dear Parents of Special Needs Children,

There’s something I need to share with you, and I know that at first it might hurt a little- but I know you are strong and you have been through far worse than this.

I accept that your child is different, that they may have special needs and they possibly require different levels of support at times.

Of course I can see the beauty in this and I respect your child’s level of ability- I can’t, however, tolerate violence from your special little one against my own.

I understand that they may not be able to control themselves physically nor emotionally and it may genuinely be a case where this behaviour is truly within their nature or out of their control…

However doesn’t my child deserve the right to feel safe too?

Of course I know how heartless this may come across, and please believe me when I say I don’t mean to sound that way, and I know you’re probably thinking right now that your child does what they do because they can’t help themselves… but you can. You can help them. 

If we’re out at the park and your little one starts screaming, kicking or biting my child, don’t make the excuse that your child has special needs and this is just how they behave, please, for the sake of my child, step in, console your child, but please don’t watch and expect my child to tolerate violence at such a young age.

I know it’s hard and it might sound isolating, but I am not suggesting that your child not be given the same rights and freedoms to enjoy public spaces the same way as mine, I’m reminding everyone that all little people have the right to feel safe, secure and respected.

Stop Making Excuses

If your child becomes overwhelmed- console them, comfort them but please don’t make the excuse that because of your child’s condition this behaviour is expected and my little one just has to tolerate continuous abuse because at such a young age this concept of tolerating violence could potentially mislead my little one in to believing they have to accept violent or aggressive behaviour from anyone- and they don’t know the difference between someone with special needs and another who genuinely just wants to harm them.

I know you might not always be there. Incidents may occur at school. But don’t just leave it to the teachers or school to sort out.

When you find out that your child has harmed another in some way, actively get involved, find out who or if the details are confidential then perhaps write a note and give it to the children’s teacher to give to the other family. Communicate with them. Actions speak louder than words and excuses, so make that connection let them know that their child’s feelings are just as valuable as your own child’s. 

I understand that occasionally challenging events may occur in the home which can cause children to act out of character towards others- no child, special needs or otherwise can escape those unfortunate circumstances. But we as parents can extend ourselves to enable anyone our child has a negative impact on not to feel victimised or leave them in fear.

Get Involved!

If you actively assist the situation, get involved and talk to both children not only are you reassuring my child that they deserve to be treated respectfully and that their feelings matter- but you are also connecting with your child’s soul and even if they don’t have the ability to regulate their emotions or behaviour, every single time you step in, as exhausting as it would be and without making any excuses, you are redirecting their energy and you may not see it right away but the positive impact you will create will make such a big difference in both our children’s lives.

I have been blessed with two severely disabled children, and four others. So I speak from experience when I say it isn’t an easy thing to do, but it is so extremely necessary in order to create a world that is accepting of everyone’s differences we must also respect others. 

All children have rights.

All children have differences- they are all special in one way or another.

And whilst we may have to accept these differences no one should be forced to tolerate violent or abusive behaviour.

All children deserve to feel safe, respected and valued, it’s our obligation as parents to ensure that this occurs.


  • There was a child in my grandsons childcare class who was like this. My grandson regularly came home with bites, scratches and bruises from this child, even the teachers copped wounds. When the centre spoke to the mother about it, the mother said they better not kick this child out or she would sue the pants off them, claiming discrimination. That’s wrong!

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  • I’m going to disagree to some extent to this article with respect. I have a child, 1 of 3 whom has significant physical issues and has been diagnosed with multiple connective tissue issues. He is incredibly sensitive and loving but does have moments where he can lash out. On each moment I do exactly this and pull him up on the bahviour, explain the situation to him, remind him what is the right thing to do etc. and yet it still happens, why? Because he has a significant medical condition which he can not control despite everything and all the support possible. Yes your child has a right to be safe and so does mine.. my child deserves respect, understanding and empathy.. and it is also your responsibility to teach YOUR children as well that other children have it really tough and they don’t like to behave the way they do but sometimes their bodies or minds don’t allow them to make the best choice. It’s not black and white and understanding and education needs to go both ways. Don’t always blame a parent for hard behaviours, that’s pretty unfair when you and your child are trying and doing everything possible to support their social and emotional development on a pretty bloody cruel world at times.

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  • I know a child who is recognised as special needs as he has an intestine problem and food “goes straight through him” and he has no control and has to wear nappies. His behaviour leaves a lot to be desired. The Mum bosses other peoples’ kids around (not my children but I have witnessed it a few times). He seems to take advantage of it and is extremely disobedient. I don’t know what his behaviour is like at school.

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  • Of course all our kids have the right to feel safe and violence isn’t acceptable. Violence is not coming only from special needs children though, it comes just as much from children (and adults) who aren’t diagnosed with “special needs”.

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  • This was incredible to read and one i completely agree with as a mother

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  • As a teacher and a parent I agree with these points. Too many parents drop responsibility and claim special needs when they really just need to parent their children better.

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  • I think this article is written very well and I agree with her points

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  • Yes. Her points are good and she’s been very tactful and understanding.

    Reply


  • This is a very good article.

    Reply

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