Updated: Dec 5, 2020
There are a lot of approaches out there when it comes to teaching children the “right” or “wrong” way to do something. While it’s totally understandable that you would like your child to learn the right way to do something, of course, there’s a lot of study and research into the idea that taking a more general approach and then modelling right vs wrong can help children understand it a lot faster and more intuitively. This is especially seen to be the case when dealing with children that have special needs. The best example of this is in the adoption of NLP as a therapy approach.
What is NLP?
Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is a widely used approach for therapy that focuses on the actions or behaviours as being separated from descriptors such as “good” or “bad”. When something is seen to pass or fail as far as its outcome, the only actual result is that there are things that can be learned from the failure of the technique, rather than it being a “good” or “bad” thing.
How does NLP work?
Sounds kind of general, right? It’s one of those broad terms that is easier to understand in practice. When NLP therapy is used, the therapist or coach works to understand where the child is, and where they want to go. From there, a series of techniques are tried and tested to see what helps them reach their goals.
For example: if a child is terrified of interacting with classmates, the coach must understand where they currently are and what their roadmap (ie: how they see the world) looks like. By getting a clear understanding of that, they’ll be able to use it to promote inclusion. One of the approaches could be something as simple as making eye contact or asking a question. If asking a question results in helping reduce anxiety in children, but making eye contact worsens it, the NLP coach can use this to help suggest other personalized approaches to children with disabilities and their parents.
What are the benefits of NLP for special needs children?
It’s entirely personalized: Since NLP focuses on getting to know each child and understanding where they are struggling, the outcome and the therapy are personalized by definition. Targeted therapy has positive effects on the child in the short term but also the long term.
It meets the child where they are: No two children ever do things the same way. Not only does NLP understand that, it thrives off of it. Every child with a disability will be met where they are naturally, and led forward with personalized techniques and tips to help then integrate a little easier with the world around them.
It helps each child understand the world differently: A child’s relationship to the world is important for success and happiness long term, meaning that the right approach will help them put it all in proper view for an easier life.
Out of all of the therapy approaches, NLP is considered to be a leader due to its focus on its integration in many different sectors of a child’s life, and the fact that it sees each child as a unique case with unique solutions, every single time.