Special Friends

“30 Days to a More Optimistic You” Positivity Challenge – Day 17. Special Needs Folks Remind of What’s Really Important

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”
-Henry David Thoreau

Do you know someone who is differently abled or has special needs?

If there’s anyone whom we can take a life lesson in appreciation from, it’s special needs folks.

Some people might look at people whose brains function a bit differently than the majority of individuals, and be apt to judge them or dismiss them due to their slower approach to living.

The truth is that families who have been touched by special needs in such a way have discovered that these folks have much to teach us about celebrating life and living in the moment.

Your experience with special needs individuals can be profound and life-changing if you open your mind and allow their hearts to speak to yours.

Exercise 17: Engage With A Person Who Has Special Needs.

If you have never been around people who are developmentally disabled, then you may benefit from volunteering at a special needs facility or attending an event where you’ll be able to meet and interact with these gentle folks who wear their hearts on their sleeves.

We know that special needs folks need us. But what we may not realize is that we need them just as much.

In a world of frenzied activity, where people withdraw from each other while hiding behind their technology, it’s a blessing and a privilege to engage with a person who has special needs.

How to Engage in With Special Needs Folks:

Dance and sing. Most everyone loves music, and special needs people are no exception. If you adore singing and dancing and are tired of stuffy individuals who hold you back from fully immersing yourself in this pleasure-filled activity, then you’ll thrive in the presence of special needs folks who probably feel moved by the very same music as you do and have no trouble expressing it. Attending a special needs dance, where everyone is free to become one with the music, may just be the best thing you ever do in your life.

Dance, sing, create

Create. Every human has a creative side. If you spend time guiding special needs folks through activities such as drawing, painting, sculpting and other art forms, you’ll find that their talent and knack for expressing themselves through creativity abounds. Life can be difficult when you’re differently abled. People are apt to misunderstand you or pass over opportunities to get to know you. Art is a healthy way for these folks to bring their emotions to the surface and heal.

Play sports. For many of us, sports don’t need to be a competition (although they certainly can be, even for those of us with different abilities). If you’re searching for a healthy outlet that will make a difference for people with special needs, and if you love to play sports or serve in a coaching capacity, then you might try signing up for organized sports with special needs individuals.

Journal It.

If you choose to allow one special needs person, or a group of them, to become a part of your life while you make a positive impact on theirs, then this experience might be worth writing about.

Remember to slow down and fully engage when you meet with your special needs friends. Look into their eyes. Smile at each other. Ask questions and tell jokes. You’ll likely find a willing participant who looks forward to spending time with you, and expresses this openly which is a beautiful thing.

Write down bits of conversations that you have with your special needs friend or friends. They’re apt to be some of the most honest and refreshing talks you’ll ever have with another person in your life! And that is definitely a blessing to be grateful for.

To making a difference in someone’s life.

Fran Watson

Be Thankful


About Fran Watson

Involved in public speaking since 2000. Joined Toastmasters in 2002 and have served in all Executive roles including serving one year as the District Public Relations Officer. Achieved my DTM in 2014. Develop and facilitate workshops in the area of employment and career development.
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