What Would You Do?

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

Imagine this scenario: You are a volunteer working with young children. One day, a mother drops off her special-needs child. Your supervisor and one of your colleagues attend to the child during class time. Later in your volunteer shift, you have a chance to interact with the child and he starts making loud noises. You freeze. Did you do the wrong thing? You’ve never worked with a special-needs child and you feel intimidated. You don’t want to do or say the wrong thing. Should you ask one of the other volunteers to work with the child in your place?

Maybe—this time. You may be tempted to let a more experienced volunteer deal with a special-needs child, but keep in mind that people with special needs are an accepted and welcome part of school, church, and community activities. It’s important that you aren’t intimidated by the situation; instead, take time to learn more about the young person and his or her special condition or needs. Speak with your supervisor about the situation, and ask for help when you are unsure. Get to know the child’s parents. Soon, you will be surprised about how comfortable you are around the child. Be patient—both with yourself and the person. You will most surely share in the rewards of this process!