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Will the presence of a retarded child affect my child's growth in a creche?

Q: I have put my 2.5 years old daughter in a crèche. She is a normal child and our doctor has rated her as an intelligent child. From the last few months a mentally retarded child has been admitted in the crèche. Now, the problem is that my daughter copies the activities of this child such as frequent shaking of the hands, twisting & taking out the tongue and putting her fingers in the mouth, which she has never done before. My question is that whether the presence of this mentally retarded child is affecting the growth of my daughter? Also, is it advisable to keep such abnormal children together with the normal children?

A:You should be happy that you have a bright child. The presence of a retarded child in the same creche will not affect your daughter’s growth or development. Mental retardation is not contagious! Children do imitate others whom they see. It is possible that she saw one child doing something different and tried out the same thing. It is good for your child to come upon children with different talents and abilities. She will learn that everyone is not alike. You could tell her not to put her fingers in her mouth or put her tongue out. Tell her that it is not necessary to do exactly what someone else does. She could be told that the child who does such things is still a baby in many ways and should be helped to grow up and be like the others. We are in favour of Inclusion, not Exclusion.

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