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3 Ways to Build Confidence in Your Special Needs Child

ways to build confidence in your special needs child

Childhood is a special time period, one in which it’s vital to build up healthy self-esteem, self-image, and self-confidence. Children with ADD, ADHD or intellectual special needs may be particularly susceptible to self-confidence issues. It may also be especially difficult to communicate how proud you are of your child’s achievements if they have special needs or if they already have issues with their self-image. Special Strong is here to help you bridge that gap.

Here are 3 ways to build confidence in your special needs child:

1. Practice Self-Love

Your child may be learning their habits of self-degradation from watching you. It’s not uncommon for parents of children with ADD or ADHD to also suffer from attention deficits. Are you comfortable with this part of yourself? If not, try practicing self-love, and be an example for your child.

Try a few of these self-love exercises:

  • Words of Affirmation – Encourage yourself by using language that embodies confidence, even you are not confident in yourself yet. Speak these statements aloud for best results.
  • Positive Self-Talk – Watch how you talk to yourself in your head. Start telling yourself, “I’m smart and capable,” rather than, “I’m so stupid. Why can’t I get things right?” Your child can’t hear your thoughts, but they’ll see that you’re standing a little bit taller to more you change your negative self-talk to positive self-talk.
  • Practice “Winning” – Give yourself a task that you know you’re really good at – like playing Sudoku or Solitaire – and celebrate each victory. When you give yourself opportunities to do things you’re good at, you’ll build a cushion on which to fall when you try something new and fail at first.

2. Celebrate Your Child’s Achievements

No matter how small a victory may seem to you, if your child comes to you with excitement, reflect it back to them. If your child is excited about getting an answer on a worksheet right, tell them what a great job they did. If they believe they got the answer right, but they actually got it wrong, shift focus for a moment to something that they did correctly. After that small celebration is over, gently point out the error while letting your child know that it’s OK to get the answer wrong sometimes. Everyone does that, even teachers.

3. Give Your Child Room to Make Mistakes

It’s tough to be the parent of a child with special needs. You may want to watch their every move and make sure they’re not getting hurt or behaving inappropriately. But when a child has the freedom to express him- or herself, they can be given the opportunity to discover social boundaries or their own strengths on their own. This can be a much more powerful way of teaching self-confidence than constantly praising their achievements. Let your child discover their achievements on their own and bring them to your attention.

At Special Strong, we know how important it is to build confidence in children with special needs. It’s difficult for anyone to muster the motivation and self-confidence to maintain a workout regimen, but it can be especially difficult for children with ADD, ADHD, Down Syndrome, Autism or general IDD. We’re passionate about catering to these differences and providing your child with special attention.


Special Strong provides fitness and nutrition for special needs children, adolescents, and adults with autism and other disabilities. Through our online training platform, we also provide special needs fitness certification courses for personal trainers and service providers who want to work autism and other disabilities.

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