Teaching children with special needs is manageable if you have the right knowledge. But your child’s learning is not dependent on you alone. Whether you like it or not, there will come a time where your child will have to join group activities. This Parenting Domain post has 6 tips on teaching children with special needs.
Your child will eventually interact with coaches, teachers, instructors, and other adults involved in their learning process. A lot of those adults have training while many others are not yet well-versed in interacting with children with special needs.
Vital Tips: Teaching Children With Special Needs
The following are 6 vital tips that you need to learn and pass on to the other adults that your child will be spending time with:
1. Communicate – just do what you usually do in conversations. Introduce yourself and explain your role to the child. You can even hold the child’s hand, touch his shoulders, or at times touch each other’s face if necessary. All those gestures depend on the child’s special needs so be wary.
After which, give details of what you will be doing with the child. Lay out the complete steps of the activity and make eye contact.
One problem about the adults today is that they easily get tired of talking. When a special need child does not respond to his or her questions, they will start to ignore the child and talk to the parents instead. Don’t get tired of talking to the child until they loosen up on you.
2. Pay attention – some children simply cannot express their feeling of discomfort or uneasiness. Take non-verbal cues and pay attention to their behavior.
Find out what they need through the changes in their action. Maybe that child is communicating with you through his or her actions. Other adults connected to your child might find this confusing so brief them and tell them about those warning actions. In addition, use your common sense. If you think that an action or activity causes restlessness or jeopardizes your child’s safety, refrain from doing that action again.
3. Open yourself to changes – there is no one-size-fits-all solution to challenges so might as well make use of different kinds of methods for every special child that you meet. After all, the purpose of teaching children with special needs is to make them learn new skills and understand more of the makings of life.
For instance, if a child refuses to let go of her “teddy” during the activities, have her teddy tag along with her. When she calms down, slowly take the toy away from her.
Another possible technique is to assign a partner to a child to have him or her build confidence. You can also explain subjects through fun activities or games so the child will absorb the lessons better. You can even sing the instructions. The important thing is that you figure out the learning method that is best for your child.
4. Be fair and consistent – if you laid out rules for your children, make sure that you apply the rules to everyone. For example, if you said that TV time is until dinner only, strictly implement this rule to everyone – without exceptions. Don’t play favorites.
This is also applicable in the other situations. Let’s say you are a martial arts instructor with a couple of kids with special needs in your class. If you said that parents can sit with their child with special needs, follow through that rule to avoid anxiety on the child’s part. This will help the child take in what needs to be learned.
If an added support is essential, assign an assistant instructor to aid the child.
5. Be optimistic and cheerful – these qualities are very important especially if you are interacting with a special needs child. Instead of encouraging a child, negativity and judgment will only bring or her down. He or she will not be able to learn if a negative energy constantly surrounds him. Always be ready to support and cheer on your child.
6. Always prepare contingency plans – anything can happen most especially when dealing with a special needs child. When you have activities, prepare for a plan B, C, and D in case things don’t go as expected.
What about you? Do you have additional tips for teaching children with special needs? Let us know through the comments section.