Written by: Jennifer Mandato
Passion is a word used so freely. “I have a passion for running.” “ I am passionate about hockey.” It is something, for the most part, we do not give a second thought to. Many of us go to work every day to do something we love.
Finding a passion for a teenager with special needs isn’t always as simple. How can we help our kids find their passion? Throughout our lives, we have many opportunities to discover and experience new things. For a teenager with special needs these experiences can be limited. Families may be fearful of how others may react to their child, keeping them from learning new hobbies. Families can start with events and outings that will be sensitive and welcoming to the special needs community. This will allow the teen to familiarize themselves with the community and the events that interest them.
Continue to enrich their lives with experiences. Explore their interests and see where that can take them in life. Talk to their teachers, counselors, or transition coordinators. Learn about the opportunities that are available in your community for your child to discover. If they like board games or helping others, can they volunteer in a retirement community? Is your child a great organizer, can they work doing inventory for a store? If they really like cooking they can look into classes at a local community college.
Ask your child what they like doing. They may tell you something so simple but it will be worth exploring. In working with teenagers, I have had many conversations about what they see for themselves after they finish school. Some will have a clear picture of their next steps, others a little more unsure. Some teens may find their passion by participating in a school event or internship. Let’s not limit our teens to what we think they should be doing but allow them to try a variety of options to see where they want their life path to take them.
As adults, it is our job to empower our teenagers to try their best and pursue their passions. Always allow them to dream knowing they have your safety net to catch them. The pride of success when they achieve something they have set their mind to is priceless.
Helping our children with special needs find their passion is essential. It helps their teacher to guide lessons with that in mind, and offer incentives based on the topic that makes our children want to jump out of their seats!
Photo from: Pexels
Dr. Liz Matheis
Dr Liz Matheis and her team specialize in assisting children and their families with Anxiety, Autism, AD/HD, Learning Disabilities and Behavioral Struggles