A Simple Tool To Teach “OUCH” To Your Child with Special Needs!

A Simple Tool To Teach “OUCH” To Your Child with Special Needs!

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If you ask the parent of a child with significant cognitive delays what the most important things they want for their child, in my experience, the answer has overwhelmingly been two things:

Communication and Self-Help Skills 

If you think about it, this is not surprising. These two skills lead to a huge jump in quality of life for both the child and the family. In today’s video I wanted to share with you a new discovery. A tool that could help to teach a very important concept….where the hurt is. 

Take a look!

When your child hurts, you hurt. To see your child or your student hurting and not know where it hurts is so frustrating and heartbreaking. We had a student a few years back in one of our classrooms for students with severe cognitive delays who was screaming and crying daily. He could absolutely not be consoled. It was a “hurt cry” and if you have a child of your own, you know what I’m talking about. The sad thing is we didn’t know what hurt….

The parents had taken this child to the doctor to check out the usual culprits; ears, throat, bladder, etc. Nothing came up yet the crying continued. Finally, thinking it was a long shot, the parents decided to take this young man to his orthopedic doctor to see if anything was going on with the rod that had been placed in his back years prior.


Unfortunately what had happened was that the rod had slipped and had actually pounded a whole in his pelvic bone!!! This guy had been in excruciating pain for weeks! We all knew something was terribly wrong. We just didn’t know what. My heart stopped when I heard what the parents had discovered….

This is a horrible and extreme example, I know, but it dramatically illustrates my point in how important it is to teach our children how to communicate where it hurts if at all possible.

You know my mantra: Behavior Communicates, so when a child is hurt or in pain, try using the “ouch” tool and see if you can’t make a connection and help your child to communicate where it hurts. He/she is using behavior to communicate to us. We just need to shape that communication so that we can be the best parents/educators we can be!

Would love to know how this works for you since I’ve not yet had the chance to use it!!!! Leave a comment and share!!!

Take care and I’ll see you next time!


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