Inclusion Strategies for Kids with Special Needs
In case you missed it, Ministry-to-Children.com ran my article, Review Activity for Kids with Special Needs, this past Monday. A couple of years ago I had just interviewed a speech therapist for my writing on special needs inclusion. She was talking about the importance of incorporating touch and feel as well as movement into any activity where you wanted a child to grasp a concept and learn something new. Shortly after that conversation I began thinking about ways to help kids of all ability levels understand and absorb a Bible lesson. I came up with the Yes/No stick activity (described in the linked article) and discovered it was a huge hit with both typical kids and those with learning differences. This reinforcement exercise turned out to be a lifesaver last summer during VBS when I had a few minutes of unplanned time just before parents arrived for pick-up. I passed out Yes/No sticks to two dozen first graders and reviewed the daily Bible story while teen helpers cleaned up the room and prepared for dismissal. Because our class included one child with a disclosed diagnosis (autism) and we suspected we had at least one other child with a learning difference, this activity was great for engaging everyone.
In the picture above, you can see how I constructed my Yes/No sticks. Ministry-to-Children.com provides a free download if you want a shortcut for creating your own activity sticks. For more tips like this one check out the new volunteer training DVD Surviving to Thriving: Successfully Including the Child with Special Needs available through http://www.whatisorange.org.