Educational Activities for Children With Special Needs
Special needs schools have been incredibly helpful to children with learning disabilities and their parents. Of course, working with special needs can be vastly different than working with neurotypical children, so many special education programs have a different focus. One of the best ways to connect with children with learning disabilities is through play, and there are many different activities to help meet each child’s specific needs.
Because of their difficulties with social interaction, it can be beneficial to have children with autism participate in activities such as drama and etiquette classes. Being taught how to read social cues and what to expect in various situations can help children with autism feel more comfortable in groups.
Hippotherapy can be incredibly beneficial to children with autism and communication disorders. Horseback riding can help children understand how their bodies move and take up space, while teaching children how to care for animals helps them learn compassion, increases self-confidence, and reduces stress. While most special needs schools do not have the budget or facilities for a consistent hippotherapy program, even occasional field trips to local stables can have a big impact.
Some of the most popular learning activities for children with autism and other learning disorders involve building. Whether it be with Legos, large blocks, or robotics (for older kids), building activities can improve fine motor skills and encourage working in teams. Building activities are a great time to allow children to be loud, giving them a break from rigid structure and allowing them to relax without being disruptive to quiet activities.
Younger children may benefit from activities that allow them to experiment with sensory experiences. Ripping construction paper and pasting it onto posterboard to make a picture can be enjoyable from a sensory standpoint and through color arrangement. Young children with learning disabilities may also enjoy playing with a sensory table or a smelling station.
Teachers at special needs schools often come up with even more ideas to get their students involved and learning. While they may move away from a traditional classroom environment, teachers can encourage learning without causing stress. If you have a favorite activity to do with your child, leave it in the comments! Who knows, it might just become a classroom favorite, too.