Nov 26, 2013
Post By: Hillary Carrington, MS, LPC-S, RPT-S
Selecting the perfect gift for your child can be challenging, especially when your child has special needs. This holiday season consider natural strengths before heading out to shop.
Dr. Robert Brooks coined the term "islands of competence" - a metaphor for finding and nurturing a child's individual strengths. This holiday season, try giving a gift that nurtures strengths and in turn advances a sense of pride and accomplishment, and builds confidence. Finding the perfect gift will be rewarding for both of you! To help you determine the perfect "islands of competence" holiday gift, follow these two steps.
Knowing answers to these four questions will help you identify your child's areas of skill or interest. If you are unsure of an answer, consider asking for help from a grandparent or teacher.
Developmental age, or the age at which your child is functioning is an important aspect to picking a great gift. Developmental age will not always be your child’s chronological age. If you need help with assessing developmental age, see this page from the American Academy of Pediatrics or search your local library for a book and locate the age where your child succeeds at most tasks and a few are still a challenge.
It is tempting to want your child to be light years ahead or even on target in some circumstances. Occasionally chronological age will match developmental age. If your child has a developmental delay, purchase a gift with their developmental age in mind. Instead of the latest gadget that promises your child will learn to read in 6 weeks, pick a gift that will focus on existing skills, interests, and strengths. Joy will result from playing with these toys that provide a sense of achievement.
If your child likes to....
Give your child the best gift, a gift for hours of fun-filled imaginative play, and most importantly a gift that targets those "islands of competence" and therefore becomes a source for increased self-confidence and self-esteem.
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