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Establishing strong relationships
A boy and his teacher look at a folder

It can often be difficult to establish strong positive relationships with children with complex needs who do not express their understanding and knowledge of the world by conventional means.

Barriers to establishing positive relationships
A smiling boy touches his face

Adults and peers who do not know children with complex needs well may find it difficult to establish positive relationships with them. Because they can experience discomfort due to a child's:

  • Lack of speech.
  • Poor control over their physical movements.
  • Difficulties being in the company of others they do not know well.

Although it is important to recognise and acknowledge our own feelings of discomfort, or rejection and hurt, it is how we respond to these feeling that will determine our success in building positive relationships.

Managing your emotions and reactions
Girl laughing with teachers

When children have behavioural problems, some teachers/caregivers feel it is important not to show emotional reactions, whereas others will give vent to how they feel.

However, either extreme reaction can create more stress in situations that are already stressful for both the teacher/caregiver and the child.

Building supportive relationships
A boy and his teacher look at a folder

In order for a child to begin to trust, they need to experience teachers and caregivers responding to them consistently and with emotion. It is good for children to experience a range of reactions and emotions from their teachers and caregivers and it helps build the relationship.

Reactions need to reflect feelings but actions need to be consistent and supportive so that strong professional relationships are established between children and their teachers and caregivers.