Featured Author: Jenny Wise--The Best Tips On Creating An Interesting Lesson Plan For A Child With Special Needs
BY: Jenny Wise
Finding a lesson plan that is inclusive for children with special needs isn’t always easy, and it can be frustrating or overwhelming to try and figure out the best ways to help your child learn. The key, however, is to play to his strengths and help him find ways to incorporate fun with a safe, comfortable learning environment.
Many children with special needs have very specific requirements for taking in information. It might be helpful to do some research on the best ways to help your child learn and retain your lessons, and communicate these with the entire family so they can be of help, too. It will also be helpful to create a place for your child to go when he needs a break, such as a quiet room or just a comfortable space where he can relax.
Here are some of the best tips on how to keep your child with special needs engaged and interested in a lesson plan.
Many children who fall on the autism spectrum have trouble asking for help or communicating their needs. To help your child learn how to ask for something, give him a simple puzzle with one piece missing. When he comes to the space where the missing piece goes, he’ll need to find a way to communicate to you that he needs help. If your child is nonverbal, create cards that will help him communicate without words.
Involve the senses
Children with special needs often react favorably to being able to use their senses; some children may be very tactile and enjoy touching different textures, while others might be visual learners who love art. Involve as many of your child’s senses in your lesson plan as possible by creating a sensory table (with water, sand, ice cubes, etc.) or an art station filled with colored paper, crayons, paint, and glitter. Allow your child to express himself creatively every day, especially if he has trouble with communication.
Work on self-esteem
For older kids especially, the concept of self-esteem is an important but complicated one. You can help your child learn about self-love and acceptance by talking to him about what self-esteem means and why it is so important for our ability to make good decisions.
Math and numbers
If your child is a very visual or tactile learner, it might be helpful to have visual aids when talking about concepts in math and money. For instance, you might buy a toy cash register and have your child touch the paper money and coins. Let him sort them by size and begin explaining that each one represents a certain amount. Working with money is a great way to explain math problems and allow your child to use his senses at the same time.
Encourage your child to write down his feelings in a journal, or to create a short story about a picture or simple concept. Have him add as much detail as he can. You can also read poems and very short stories aloud to him and have him try his own rhyming poetry or a haiku, which uses a rhythm of five syllables, seven syllables, and five syllables.