The ability to relate and interact appropriately is crucial to the formation and maintenance of relationships with other people. Maximum opportunities for learning appropriate social behaviors are an integral part of programming for young children with developmental difficulties. Through interactions with peers and adults, children are able to learn appropriate social and language skills. However, simply placing children with disabilities in physical proximity does not ensure that the children will engage in meaningful interactions with each other. In our classrooms we create many opportunities that help to facilitate interactions (and acquisition of speech and language skills) among children by (a) arranging the environment in such a manner that children will have physical contact with each other, (b) providing materials and activities which promote interactions (i.e., group projects), and (c) prompting children to seek assistance from or involve each other.
We also recognize that children are born with unique temperaments. Sometimes it is a challenge for teachers to acknowledge these differences and channel them into appropriate social and interaction skills. At CDT Kids children have the opportunity to learn impulse control through decentering, negotiating and bargaining. Also, the development of self-esteem and trust are essential components of our curriculum. Many of the children have difficulty with self-esteem and trust that is due to their poor communication skills. Our goal is to emphasize their strengths and decrease the attention that is focused on their needs. At CDT Kids we attempt to create a nurturing environment in which children can develop confidence and trust, but at the same time learn to discriminate between healthy and harmful interactions.