Cell phones and kids with special needs. Laurie Wallin tackles this sticky subject in her post today. In it, she shares the positives she’s noticed since giving her daughter with special needs a cell phone.
Why I Love My Daughter’s Cell Phone
by Laurie Wallin
She turned 10 in March, but had to wait a whole 97 days for the coveted item hiding in our closet. The deal was this: no cell phones until 5th grade. So, of course, the day after she finished 4th grade, in her mind we had no excuse to keep the phone from her!
I’d worried about when to give her one. About how to keep her connected to our family once texting was available to her. About how to manage the cost of an additional phone, and most of all, how to keep my daughter safe in the cyber-mobile-world.
Once she had the little pink item in hand, an amazing thing happened. It’s helping her grow up – in really good ways!
It’s Teaching Responsibility
The phone has a consistent place where she keeps it in the house or while she’s in the car (a place of her own devising). She keeps it charged and clean. She doesn’t argue about the portion of her allowance (about half) that she spends on her minutes each month. And when her bipolar moods take over and she lapses into the typical disrespectful rants, she has respected it’s removal for a time out.
It’s Stretching her Search and Find Skills
The child who, because of her mental and developmental delays, has trouble finding things that are literally right in front of her on a counter or table, is learning where functions are on her phone. And even better, she’s learning how to manage and move past her frustration (which spikes instantly in most other cases) in order to find something new she wants to do, or retrieve a photo file to show me.
It’s Building her Confidence
And not just because she’s got a cute phone (or a phone at all, since most kids her age have them now). As she becomes more proficient at using the gadget, she’s showing signs of confidence approaching other situations where she needs to solve a problem, search for something, keep her cool or manage a responsibility. Since she got the phone a month ago, she’s been more consistent about her chores (without reminders) and offered help with siblings—both qualities that a child with her differences struggles with daily.
I never saw it coming. Well, not in a good way anyway! But I am so pleased with what such a small device has birthed in my daughter. And I’m even more pleased in how she’s stepped up and assumed this new big-girl privilege with such diligence.
What “rights of passage” do you dread with your child? What positive outcomes may be possible through that change or event?
- Laurie Wallin
Really, Laurie and I Want to Know What You Think
Please, do leave a comment in answer to Laurie’s questions. We really want to know.
Gotta’ answer my phone,
Laurie Wallin is a wife and mom of four – two adopted with developmental delays, mood disorders, and ADHD. A former junior high teacher turned speaker and life coach, she loves to learn, laugh until their sides hurt, and help women be courageous in life.