8 Important Tips For Working With A Special Needs Child
The same rules of polite conversation apply to adults and children. First, introduce yourself and explain how you are connected to the child. Depending on the child's special needs, it may be necessary to take the child's hand, place a hand on the child's shoulder or even touch each other's faces to make a proper introduction.
Then explain the activity that you will be doing with the child. Explain the different steps of the activity, including the beginning and the end - while making as much eye contact as possible.
Some children with special needs perceive sensory input in different ways and may be unable to verbalize discomfort. Remember all behavior is communication.
3. Use Common Sense
Problems can be avoided easily with common sense: put safety first and arrange the environment for physical and emotional comfort.
4. Be Flexible
Some adults say that they will not change the way they do things to accommodate one person in a group. But the whole point of teaching is to use a variety of methods to help another person understand and master new skills.
5. Be Consistent
If a set of rules is presented to the group, apply those rules consistently to everyone.
6. Use visual, auditory or tactile cues
Having the right cues in an environment can mean the difference between participation and non-participation for many children with special needs.Tactile cues such as gently touching a person's shoulder, offering a blanket or other soft fabric, or providing silly putty are easy ways to mark a transition and get a person's attention.
7. Have a plan. And a back-up plan.
You know what they say about the best-laid plans. In the world of special needs, there is always a Plan B, and usually a Plan C. Make sure that there is space to calm down and move freely if things go badly. Think about what each participant can do instead of focusing on what they can't contribute.
8. Be Positive
A positive attitude is the single most important quality for anyone who works with children with special needs.
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