How do social media help people with special needs in the community?

Social media platforms can provide valuable avenues for people with disabilities to connect, share experiences, and engage with communities that understand their challenges. These platforms offer a way to communicate, access information, and even advocate for their needs and rights. Many people say that social media is not a safe platform to interact with others. But people with special needs cannot have any problems to remain in touch with their familiar friends, family members and relatives with whom they cannot meet always physically.
However, it is important to consider accessibility issues and potential drawbacks as well, and work towards creating an inclusive online environment for everyone.
Social media can be a valuable tool for people with special needs in several ways:

1. Community and Support: Social media platforms allow individuals with special needs to to connect, share experiences, and offer emotional support with those who are also facing from similar challenges like them.

2. Education and Awareness: It is a platform that can help to raise awareness about various special needs and conditions which can further help to reduce stigma and promoting understanding. It can be a powerful tool for raising awareness about special needs by providing a platform to share personal stories, experiences, and insights. It allows individuals with special needs and their families to connect, share resources, and educate the public. Creating dedicated pages, using relevant hashtags, and sharing informative content can help reach a wider audience and promote understanding and inclusion. It is important to ensure that the content is respectful, accurate, and empathetic to effectively raise awareness and advocate for positive change.

3. Communication: For those people who have communication difficulties, social media can provide alternative means of expressing thoughts, ideas, and emotions. Many social media platforms offer text-based communication, which can be useful for individuals who can type or use assistive technology to write. Collaborative features like group chats and online communities, which can help people connect with others who have similar experiences and challenges.

4. Advocacy: Social media enables individuals to advocate for their rights and needs, promoting inclusivity , driving positive change and can help in accessible communication tools and share stories to raise awareness about communication challenges.

5. Skill Development: Many platforms host online courses and workshops on subjects ranging from art to coding. These can be a flexible way for individuals to learn new skills at their own pace and help them to develop social skills, digital literacy, and even vocational skills. Individuals can showcase their skills and creations on platforms where they can receive feedback, encouragement, and recognition from a wider audience.

6. Therapeutic Outlets: Creative expression through posts, videos, or artwork can serve as therapeutic outlets as they help to boost their self-esteem and emotional well-being.

7. Access to Information: Social media offers a wide range of resources, information, and tools that can be beneficial for people with special needs and their caregivers. Many organizations and news outlets share important updates and information through their social media accounts, ensuring users are well-informed.

8. Social Interaction: For those who may have difficulty with in-person interactions, social media can provide a less intimidating way to connect with others.

However, it is important to note that while social media can be beneficial, it also comes with potential risks, such as cyberbullying or misinformation. Careful guidance and supervision are often necessary, especially for younger individuals with special needs.

Author Sradhanjali Dasgupta

Consultant Psychologist, Speaker , Learning Developmental Coach, Teacher and trainer Miss. Sradhanjali Dasgupta has been extensively working in the field of Counselling and education for the past few years in several Clinics, Hospitals, NGOs and educational sectors. She also contributes her writings and blogs in various newspapers, magazines and e- magazines Her training and workshops are both for the corporate as well as for the educational sector and are geared up for learning and development,upgradation and capacity building. She have actively taken part in many debates


Recognizing and Addressing Puberty Issues in Children with Autism

Navigating Puberty and Adolescence: Practical Strategies for Supporting Autistic Children

Puberty is a natural and crucial phase of development that all children go through as they transition into adolescence and adulthood. However, for children with disabilities like- autism spectrum disorder (ASD), puberty can present unique challenges that require careful attention and understanding from parents, caregivers, and educators. As the physical, emotional, and social changes during puberty can be overwhelming, recognizing and addressing puberty issues in children with autism is of utmost importance to ensure their well-being and smooth transition into adulthood.

The physical, emotional, and social changes that come with Puberty and adolescence phase of life can intensify the unique struggles faced by autistic individuals. In this blog, we will explore practical tips and strategies to help address the issues that autistic children may encounter during puberty and adolescence, fostering a supportive and nurturing environment for their growth and development.

Understanding Puberty in Children with Autism:
Puberty is typically marked by the onset of physical changes, hormonal fluctuations, and emotional development. For children with autism, this phase can be particularly challenging due to their difficulties with communication, social interactions, and sensory processing. Some common characteristics of autism, such as rigidity in routines, difficulty understanding social cues, and sensory sensitivities, can exacerbate the impact of puberty.

Recognizing Puberty-Related Challenges:
1. Communication Difficulties: Children with autism may find it challenging to express their thoughts, feelings, and concerns related to puberty. This can lead to increased frustration, anxiety, and behavioral issues.

2. Social Isolation: Puberty often brings about changes in peer relationships, and children with autism may struggle to navigate these complex social dynamics. As a result, they might become more isolated or face challenges in forming and maintaining friendships.

3. Sensory Sensitivities: The sensory processing differences common in autism can make physical changes associated with puberty, such as increased body hair, changes in body odor, and developing breasts, even more distressing for some children.

4. Understanding Personal Boundaries: With puberty comes a heightened awareness of personal boundaries and privacy, which can be challenging for children with autism who may have difficulties understanding social norms.

Strategies for Addressing Puberty Issues in Children with Autism:

Puberty is a time of immense change and growth, and it can be particularly overwhelming for our children. By recognizing the challenges these children may face during this phase, we can better address their needs and provide appropriate support. Clear communication, social skills training, sensory integration techniques, and a supportive environment are essential elements to help children with autism navigate puberty with confidence and develop into happy, healthy adults. With patience, understanding, and the right resources, we can ensure that children with autism embrace this developmental milestone with greater ease and achieve their full potential. Let’s see some tips and strategies-

1. Early, Clear and open Communication: Start discussing puberty-related topics early and use clear,concise and simple language to explain the changes that will occur and they will experience during puberty, both physically and emotionally. Visual aids, social stories, role-playing and educational videos can be effective tools to enhance understanding and navigate these changes better. Maintaining open and honest communication with your autistic child is really crucial.

2. Establish Routines and Predictability: Maintaining predictable routines can provide a sense of stability and security during this period of change. Using visual schedules can help children with autism anticipate what’s coming next.

3. Social Skills Training: Puberty and adolescence bring about complex social dynamics. Implement social skills training tailored to their specific needs, to help children with autism navigate social situations and build positive relationships. Role-play scenarios related to puberty and practice social cues to help them understand social interactions better, fostering meaningful relationships with peers can be particularly beneficial.

4. Sensory Integration Techniques: Recognize and address sensory sensitivities by providing sensory breaks and offering sensory-friendly hygiene products to minimize discomfort during physical changes. Autistic individuals often have sensory sensitivities. As their bodies change, these sensitivities can become more pronounced. Create sensory-friendly spaces where they can retreat when overwhelmed. Introduce sensory tools like fidget toys, weighted blankets, or noise-canceling headphones to help them cope with sensory challenges.

5. Educate Peers and School Staff: Foster a supportive environment by educating classmates and school staff about autism and puberty-related challenges. Encouraging empathy and understanding can help reduce bullying and promote inclusion.

6. Personal Hygiene Education:
Teaching personal hygiene routines is essential during adolescence and puberty phase. Break down hygiene tasks into smaller steps, using visual schedules and rewards to reinforce positive habits. Incorporate sensory-friendly grooming products to minimize discomfort.

7. Emotional Regulation:
Help your child develop emotional regulation strategies. Encourage them to express their feelings through art, writing, or sensory activities. Introduce mindfulness techniques to promote self-awareness and emotional well-being.

8. Individualized Education Plan (IEP) Review:
If your child has an IEP, ensure that it is updated to address their changing needs during puberty and adolescence. Collaborate with educators and therapists to tailor goals and interventions that support their social, emotional, and academic growth.

9. Transition Planning:
Prepare your child for upcoming transitions, such as changing schools or post-high school plans. Gradually expose them to new environments and routines to reduce anxiety. Visit new locations, meet new people, and discuss expectations well in advance.

10. Addressing Bullying and Peer Relationships:
Bullying can be particularly distressing for autistic children. Teach them how to recognize and respond to bullying behaviors, and encourage assertiveness training. Foster positive peer relationships through shared interests and group activities.

11. Self-Advocacy Skills:
Empower your child to advocate for their needs and preferences. Teach them to communicate their boundaries and preferences to peers, educators, and caregivers, helping them develop a strong sense of self-advocacy.

12. Family and Professional Support:
Reach out to support groups, therapists, and autism organizations for guidance and assistance. Connect with other families facing similar challenges to share experiences and learn from one another. Seek guidance from healthcare professionals and autism specialists who can provide tailored advice and strategies based on the child’s individual needs.

Puberty and adolescence present unique challenges for autistic children, but with the right strategies and support, these difficulties can be navigated successfully. By fostering open communication, providing sensory support, focusing on social skills, and offering emotional guidance, you can help your child embrace this transformative phase with confidence and resilience. Remember that every autistic individual is unique, so tailor your approach to suit your child’s specific needs and strengths. Together, we can create an inclusive and supportive environment where autistic adolescents can thrive.

Hopefully you will find this blog useful and relevant. Do leave your comments and valuable feedback.

Thank you for reading!

Author Shilpi Mayank Awasthi
Founder SpecialSaathi


Teaching emotions and feelings to Autistic individuals

A video blog by Pinki Kumar on step by step tips to Teach emotions and feelings to Autistic individuals

Author Pinki Kumar

Pinki is a special educator, play therapist and a mother of a neurodivergent kid. She has a YouTube channel Play and learn to teach different methods and strategies. These videos are a great resource for the parents to help their child learn various skills.


How to stop drooling in Autistic kids

A video blog by Pinki Kumar on How to stop drooling in Autistic kids

Author Pinki Kumar

Pinki is a special educator, play therapist and a mother of a neurodivergent kid. She has a YouTube channel Play and learn to teach different methods and strategies. These videos are a great resource for the parents to help their child learn various skills.


Special Needs Schools: Enabling Growth for Autism Individuals

Short Musings by Juhi Saxena

Special schools dedicated to catering to the specific needs of children with autism have proven to be transformative in empowering individuals and facilitating their growth. These specialized educational institutions create a nurturing environment that recognizes the unique strengths and challenges of students on the autism spectrum.

One of the key advantages of special schools for autism is the provision of trained professionals who understand the complexities of autism and can develop tailored teaching methodologies. These educators employ evidence-based strategies to address communication difficulties, sensory sensitivities, and social interactions, promoting individualized learning and progress.

Moreover, special schools foster a sense of community and belonging among students. By being surrounded by peers facing similar challenges, children with autism find comfort and acceptance, forming meaningful connections that enhance their social skills and self-confidence.

Special schools also provide a range of therapeutic interventions, such as occupational therapy, speech therapy, and behavioral support. These services address specific needs and help individuals develop essential life skills and increasing their independence.

By recognizing the unique needs of children with autism and offering targeted interventions and support, special schools create an inclusive and empowering educational setting. They pave the way for individuals to unlock their full potential.

#learning #teaching

Author Juhi Saxena

About the Author- “Hello, I’m Juhi.
I take immense pride in introducing myself as Tanisha’s mother. Tanisha, who is on the Autism Spectrum, serves as my teacher and inspires me to be a better human being every day. Her determination has taught me the value of never giving up. I openly advocate for the mental well-being of caregivers and parents of children with special needs (CWSN) and discuss the challenges faced by CWSN and their families. I firmly believe in the power of holding hands and walking together on the less traveled road.”