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
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.
- 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.