Learning Activities for Special Needs Children

Teaching children with special needs can be extremely rewarding, but is also sometimes a daunting task. Problems with memory, physical blocks to learning, frustration and depression in disabled children are some factors that come in the way of learning. Learning activities for special needs children are an effective way of making them learn concepts while having fun and to develop living skills as well.

Adapting Activities for Disabled Children

Any learning activity can be adapted to make it suitable for teaching children with special needs. A few pointers to make an activity more sensitive to the requirements of these children:

  • Break down the activity in a sequence of short tasks or goals. Long-drawn activities for special needs children, whether the child is physically, mentally or behaviorally challenged, could make him or her feel tired or impatient, or lose motivation and focus.
  • Positive reinforcement makes all the difference. The aim is to complete the activity successfully and with understanding, and learn something at the same time. Avoid activities for disabled children that are eliminative or competitive in nature.
  • Instructions should be simple and straightforward. When teaching children with special needs, it is important be clear and precise in your directions. Frustrating the child causes a mental or emotional block, and hinders learning.

Simple Learning Activities for Special Needs Children

Learning activities for disabled children do not have to be expensive or complicated. Instead of making them sit by and watch something, involve children in the process and encourage participation in a simple manner. Painting, building blocks, plasticine/putty/clay shaping, drawing or cutting and pasting helps younger children develop concepts of shape, size, and color as well as honing motor skills. Games like dress-up, sing-along songs, Simon Says, and other activities encourage physical activities in disabled children, and can be adapted to children using wheelchairs, as well as letting you introduce new ideas and concepts.

Exercise groups or special timings in the local gym or swimming pool allow for light to moderate exercise-based learning activities for disabled children. Children usually respond well to water- or swimming-based exercises and yoga. Turn simple stretches into animal movements and ask children to imitate them. Other learning activities for special needs children could be helping out with simple tasks in the house and garden. Interaction with other children in a controlled atmosphere at first can be very helpful, and can reduce anxiety when the time comes for children to go to school.

When teaching special needs children and planning learning activities for them, remember that you are trying to equip them with the skills they’ll need to interact with people and the world outside. Keep it simple and goal-oriented, and make sure they have fun while learning.

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