Message from the Executive Director

Perspectivei14j "A child who doesn't cry even they fall"

@If a child expresses feelings such as gI canft stand it.h, gI donft like it.h, or gIt hurts.h by crying or with their words, they can be understood by people around them. Some children with intellectual disabilities canft express themselves with their facial expressions or behaviors. Even if a child has a feeling, it may not always appear visibly. How can we come to understand and support them?

@For example, consider a child who doesnft cry even they fall and hits their head. Are they not feeling pain at all? Some people may think the child is very patient or strong. Some people may think the child is impervious to pain. It is not a good idea to judge immediately from my experiences with various other children. The child might not be able to express their feeling well even they feel pain. If we think that, we can ask them, gDid it hurt?h or gAre you OK?h and then pat the part they hit even they donft seem to care. At first, they might refuse the contact. However, if we try to communicate with them in a natural way while showing concern about their feelings, the experience may allow them to feel comfortable with an adultfs warm hand and achieve pain relief. When they accumulate such experiences day by day, they will gradually come to choose the experience of being cared for by adults rather than enduring pain by themselves when they feel pain. It is a very meaningful experience for childrenfs growth when discomfort and difficulties are changed into comfort and safety by adults around them.

@There are many examples of children who keep away from people at first who come to want adults around them to hug them, or make a crying face when adults comfort them, or of children who used to only howl coming to shed tears and cry and say gOuchh using their words. These experiences teach us feelings and emotions develop through communicating with other people.

@On the other hand, if a child canft experience a sense of safety from people because they are misunderstood to be patient or not feel anything, they learn to handle pain by themselves and grow up with it being misunderstood that they are just that way. This is surely very hard and involuntary for the individual.

@We donft get to decide when a child canft recognize their parent or guardian, canft express their will, doesnft feel pain, or even doesnft cry although their parent or guardian goes away, their toy is taken, or they are hit by another child. We want to treat children by being conscious that they must feel the same pain, joy, mortification, and desire as others, even when it doesnft appear so.

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