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Special needs children and bad behavior

Is it ok for a child or young adult with special needs to exhibit bad behavior? Should society have the same expectations for special needs children as non-special needs children?

One sister with disabilities and one without share a unique bond
Stacy Gritt

I am not an expert but I am a mom. I have raised 2 beautiful young adult daughters and am currently raising a toddler. I have experience with all ages and abilities. My oldest daughter with disabilities still displays behaviors typically seen around the age of 2 despite the fact that she is now 21. My 20 year old daughter is a beautiful young lady living on her own and doing an excellent job taking care of herself. I like to think I applied the same rules and guidelines for all my children but yet I still struggle with behavioral issues at home and in public with my special needs daughter.

I do not accept her behaviors and I try my best to avoid situations, places and events that might trigger a behavioral episode however, incidents still occur. During her worst years she was not able to attend social activities, public places and was removed from her school placement. As a family we have grown, accepted and gained a sense of understanding along with an abundance of patience for her and others with disabilities. In spite of it all we have grown to be better people and we have learned to place our faith in God.

Over the years she has tried numerous medications, many of the prescriptions falling into the anti-psychotic category in an attempt to control mood disorders, ADHD, ADD and behavior. We have had failure and success throughout the course of her life and if I could go back and change one thing I don't think I would. Despite the therapies, medications, schools, habilitation and love she has received she is still who she is.

The answers to my initial questions are, I do not know. What I do know is this:

  • We should not judge others
  • We should not assume children with behaviors have bad parents
  • No amount of intervention, therapies and drugs are going to change the person they were destined to be.

For more information on behavior therapies for special needs children visit the following websites:

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