Kids with intellectual disability have challenges with thinking skills, such as reasoning, problem solving, planning, and judgement (e.g. understanding and predicting risks). They can also have difficulties with academic and everyday skills (e.g. reading, writing, telling the time, doing maths, and handling money). They find it harder to learn, which means they need additional time and support to learn new skills.
Kids with intellectual disability often experience communication and social challenges. They may appear to be socially immature for their age, they are likely to be more easily overwhelmed when given instructions with multiple steps, and they may find it challenging to understand body language (e.g. facial expression, gestures). Kids with intellectual disability can find it more challenging to regulate and control their emotions and behaviour. They may tire easily. A number of kids may also have challenges with emotions and behaviour such as anxiety (worry and fearfulness), sadness and irritability (doesn’t want to try and participate) and attention problems such as being restless, over-active, distractible, disorganised and difficulties with concentrating.
You could ask questions like: What activities does your child enjoy the most? Are there any things they find particularly challenging? Are there things I can do to support his/her participation as much as possible? Are there situations that he/she finds stressful? Are there things that I can do to help your child understand or learn a new skill? What is the best way to communicate?
Just because a child faces challenges with talking or communicating does not mean that they are not smart or that they have difficulties with thinking or learning. As a coach, learning how to communicate most effectively with a child is important so that everyone has the same opportunities to participate and have fun.