9 Tips for Supporting Parents with Children who Have Special Needs

Special Showings for Special Needs

The Promise Resource Center has partnered with R/C Theaters Lexington Exchange to provide Special Showings for Special Needs, bringing sensory-friendly movie showings to southern Maryland.  Southern Maryland has a large community of families with  members who have special needs. Many of these families are unable to attend a regular movie screening because of sensory issues such as light and sound sensitivity, trouble sitting still or staying quiet. During these Special Showings, the sound will be turned down, the lights will be turned up, and parents and caregivers can bring snacks and drinks for those who have dietary restrictions. The Special Showings are also a great opportunity for parents to bring young children who may not be ready to sit still and stay quiet for a long period of time! Guests do not have to have special needs or sensitivities to attend!  Guests can feel free to sing, cry, shout, or dance in a comfortable, judgement-free zone!

*The Special Showings are now available on Saturday mornings for families who have children in school and caregivers who work during the week!*

The showings will go on at 10am on the Tuesday and Saturday of the 3rd week of the month. The next showings will feature the film “Storks” on Tuesday, October 11th and Saturday, October 15th .  Visit for the current showing schedule through December!

Please call 301-290-0040 or email if you belong to a group larger than 5 attendees to let us know you will be attending!

Things You Should Never Say to Children with Special Needs

Unfortunately, a child with special needs doesn’t just have to endure the frustrations and struggles that come with the way their brain is wired, but they also have to withstand many misinformed comments and phrases being thrown their way day to day.

It’s not that hard to {insert common activity}.

Yes. Yes, it is that hard. They are not doing refusing to do whatever it is you are waiting for them to do, just to annoy you. It might look like it, but… that is not their intention.

Calm down.

This is easier said than done. In fact, if they could calm down on their own, they already would have. The truth is that they need help. They don’t have the skills yet to self-regulate, but they are learning!

What is wrong with you? You know better.

Yes, they SHOULD know better. This is especially true if the person you are talking to is older than a toddler. They should know to keep their hands to themselves. They should know to walk in a library. They should know to use a quiet voice in a restaurant. However, for whatever reason in this moment, they are unable to! Pointing out that something is “wrong” with them will only make them feel more self-conscious.

Why did you do that?

They have no clue. This one is a lost cause. Most likely, you are going to be met with an “I don’t know” and the shrugging of shoulders. Instead, try explaining why doing that is not a good idea.

Stop being “bad”.

There are so many other phrases to say to a child misbehaving, rather than a phrase that is hurtful.

It’s not that big of a deal.

Not to you! However, to them it is the BIGGEST deal! To them, that wet shirt is like daggers to their skin. To them, that fan whirring sounds like a helicopter trying to land in their room. To them, it’s a HUGE DEAL!

Why don’t you just….{fill in the blank} 

Because they can’t. Because they are overstimulated. Because they aren’t processing the information. The why’s could go on and on.

Go away.

You might think other’s don’t say it, it’s said on the playground, at the park, at birthday parties. Someone that struggles with special needs can have annoying behaviors. However, they are not annoying. They have lots of great qualities. It may just take a little patience and understanding  to find them!

Quit being a baby.

No, they are not being a baby, a sissy, silly, or ridiculous. To someone with special needs, their problems are very real to them and their frustrations are very real. Please don’t downplay what they are going through.