Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Special Needs Part 3

So once I have a vision? Once I know the needs? or what if I just want to be prepared?

What are common areas that I can invest in and develop to help special needs?

After asking the parents about the child, what strategies work, what goals they have, and what supports are best for their child.

Think about how you can help kids:


Transitions are change, moving from one thing to the next like: 

Examples: starting/stopping the class, singing time to the room for story time, snack time to game time, story time to craft. Transitions are hard for all of us.

Most of us think of change as a bad thing, and that's really what a transition is, moving from one thing to another. So children of ALL ages and stages need support in transitions.   This support is in a schedule (shared orally or posted), warning of a change (one more song before story time), or teaching a routine (clap twice, they clap twice, then you speak), and buddies or helpers can support transitions.

The biggest tip is create a schedule or routine, POST it, and share it with kids. Kids are all better with knowing what's next and with surprises being planned, but not routine.  

Here's a blog post from the Inclusive Church about Strategies to Include Every Child

Creating a transition box

Visual Schedules examples: Part One VBS example
Part Two Pill Container

Sensory Needs

We all need to move, to shake, we all have days were we don't feel just right.  But children especially, are learning how to regulate or cope with all the senses around them. Some respond by being overwhelmed, and over active, others respond with what might look shy or shut down, but some get angry or enraged and others get giddy or depressed.  All kids have sensory needs.. Just think of Christmas's too much for most people!

Simple ideas are awareness of the stimuli and the needs of kids...


  • is it too loud? too small? too big? too warm? too cold? is there a scent? 
  • some kids can't sit on the floor? others are better on the floor. Some need a cushion with texture.  
  • some kids need movement built in. 
Simple responses:
  • fidgets: a stress ball, playdough, sand, rice/beans to dig in, tactile opportunities (flannelgraph?)
  • sit on yoga balls, cushions, define space with small carpets
  • build in movement breaks or movement with songs or finger plays
  • snacks and water if you are together for any length of time, or based on how long since a meal. 
  • weighted objects can calm anyone or a body sock, tunnel, or tent can provide relief. 
You can time movement, calming options, and most people appreciate tactile, visual and auditory options as well. Just recognize which of these areas might be triggers. (think clowns are scary to lots of people, some kids are overwhelmed with competition, some can't cope if they are tired or hungry.)  
Just be aware and a good detective, and you can figure out and prevent many problems, or keep it from reoccurring.  Here's another blog that has several articles that mention it in the church setting!


Learn that you can adapt, change when a new idea comes, and you can reflect and process, but be ready to make adaptations, if something could work better or be improved!  


When in doubt, extra hands and heads, will make any program smoother, as long as each person KNOWS their jobs, and has purpose or a way to support. Even if you have an 'on call' person that leaves if there are enough helpers, this can be the best support for kids. People!

Here's a website with article and book suggestions. 

Of course the best resource is also seeking ideas from therapists, teachers, and those with experience with the disability or concerns you are facing. Pray about it and ask around, the Lord will raise up help. 

No comments:

Post a Comment