Top Extracurricular Activities For Children With Special Needs
As a parent, it might be difficult for you to imagine your child with special needs take part in extracurricular activities in school. However, these after-school programs are excellent opportunities for kids to discover their interests, make new friends, and build their confidence. Read on to learn about the top extracurricular activities for students with special needs.
Acting has many social-emotional and academic benefits for kids. For one, multiple script readings improve their reading fluency, accuracy, intonation, and vocabulary. At the same time, the sessions where they analyze the story and character development help practice their critical analysis and broaden their perspective in life.
Acting also provides a safe space for kids to pour their artistic expression. Knowing that they can stand up on stage in front of a broad audience is a powerful confidence booster, which then improves their self-esteem.
More and more businesses are now offering classes for adaptive dance. There are even sessions tailored to kids with disabilities. A studio in Los Angeles and New York City called Ballet for All Kids have special lessons on classical ballet directed toward those with mobility challenges, deafness, autism spectrum disorder, and blindness. This initiative is called the Schlachte Method, a program developed by Bonnie Schlachte.
Also, the Music in Motion of the Maryland Youth Ballet extends two classes for kids with disabilities. One program focuses on children who can walk but still have special needs and another for kids who use walkers or wheelchairs.
These organizations make sure that every child in the world experiences the same opportunities for adapted dance.
Visual arts is a type of therapeutic activity for students who are not capable of expressing their thoughts and feelings through words. These art projects also enhance the self-esteem of these kids upon seeing their excellent output.
ArtAble, an art studio in Minnesota, offers drop-in painting classes for children with all kinds of needs. Their audience easily accesses it because of their automatic doors, adjustable tables, ramps, and big walkways for wheelchairs.
Researchers observed that children who play music improve their executive function skills and build organizational structures in their lives. It also becomes an avenue for them to exhibit spontaneous and creative thinking while performing. To further enhance these skills, freestyle rap and improvisational jazz are the perfect go-to music genres.
Hippotherapy or horseback riding is an extracurricular activity that is both fun and therapeutic. The American Hippotherapy Association revealed that hippotherapy improves the child’s balance, muscle tone, and posture. The movement of the horse also contributes to the betterment of their trunk control, motor planning, core strength, sensory processing, and respiratory function for speech production.
As a parent, guiding your child into choosing the best extracurricular activities that will fit their particular needs is your responsibility. Here are some tips you can follow:
- Keep in mind the sensory concerns of your child.
- Be realistic.
- Consider their strengths and weaknesses.
- Enroll them in an activity that they are interested in.
- Choose structured programs over open-ended programs.
- Include your child in the decision-making.
If your child is engaging in an extracurricular activity that is not on the list, it doesn’t mean that he or she is not benefiting from it. Just make sure to follow the tips above so that you can find the best after-school program for him or her.