Special Kids, Special Needs

by Jennifer Smith

Although all children are special, some have unique needs that must be addressed in order to create a positive learning environment. Whether the needs are physical or mental, some simple accommodations can make learning more satisfying for everyone involved.

Follow these steps to create a positive learning environment for girls and boys with special needs:

Consider the space.
For a child with physical disabilities, keep the room free of clutter. Create plenty of space to manipulate a wheelchair, walker, or other such equipment.

Children with autistic tendencies tend to respond better in spaces where distractions are at a minimum. Use cabinets with doors to store extra learning materials. Display only what is necessary for the session.

Consider the ability.
In order to make learning a positive experience for the special needs child, you may need to modify some activities:

Read material aloud to girls and boys with reading difficulties.

Pair an older child with a special-needs child during activities. This not only benefits the special-needs child, but gives the older boy or girl an opportunity to minister to someone else.

Consider the preparation.
All children respond better to well-planned instruction. A leader who is prepared and has all teaching materials readily available is more likely to hold the attention of a child with special needs.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Seek out the assistance of someone who might know more about a specific special need.

The most important preparation you can make is prayer. Remember that God honors the prayers of His faithful people.

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