Written by:Nicole Filiberti, LCSW
Planning an activity for your family to enjoy is no easy feat. Moods and irritability levels can change by the minute, sibling rivalry can take its toll, and unexpected changes in plans can all cause even the most well-intentioned plans to end in frustration and stress. When you add special needs into this mix, such as individuals with an Autism spectrum disorder, anxiety, behavioral challenges and more, another level of complications arise that require additional planning. Here are some ideas for family activities that cater to individuals with special needs.
Trampoline parks have been popping up in many towns lately. A lot of them have special sensory hours regularly built into the schedule. Check your local trampoline park's website or give them a call to find out if they offer this option. Very often, sensory hours include more staff supervision, limits on the amount of people allowed to jump at once, and a more quiet environment.
Another family activity could be enjoying a music class together as a family. Many music therapy offices offer ongoing classes or special events in which youngsters with special needs can connect and express themselves through the use of music. This can certainly be an event that the whole family could enjoy together, creating special memories.
Connecting to nature is another great option for a family to enjoy together. When the weather is nice, heading to a local park to explore and have a picnic can be a very enjoyable activity. There are plenty of sensory things to explore, touch and see. Other than park rules and regulations, you won't have to follow a whole lot of strict rules and can leave whenever you need to leave, staying for as little or long as your schedule and needs dictate.
Engaging in various activities as a family is a fun way to connect and create memories. For your children with special needs, making an effort to keep active as a family can help their social skills, increase self-esteem, and build life skills. There are plenty of resources listed on the internet and the next time you are at a skating rink, museum or gymnastics class, ask the staff if they offer any special programming for individuals with special needs. You just may be surprised by the options available.
Photo from: Pexels
Dr. Liz Matheis
Dr Liz Matheis and her team specialize in assisting children and their families with Anxiety, Autism, AD/HD, Learning Disabilities and Behavioral Struggles