Sean is a former social worker turned stay-at-home dad. He knows what it’s like to juggle family and career; He did it for years until deciding to become a stay-at-home dad after the birth of his son. Though he loved his career in social work, he has found this additional time with his kids to be the most rewarding experience of his life. He now writes periodically for the Autism Society blog, as well as other outlets.

How To Create An Engaging Lesson Plan For A Child With Special Needs


Photo via Pixabay by Willow290971

Creating an engaging lesson plan for a child with special needs can be tricky, because it needs to be tailored to fit the child’s specific needs while balancing core learning techniques. For instance, some lesson plans are heavy on music and activities, but some children may need absolute quiet to feel comfortable. It’s important to create a learning environment that caters to the child’s needs, as well, with plenty of sensory play and a space they can retreat to if they start to feel overwhelmed.

There are lots of different learning tools you can use to ensure your child is getting exactly what he needs, however, and many different lesson plans that will help him be successful. Here are a few of the best tips on how to create an engaging lesson that will keep your child eager to learn.

Create a sensory table
A good sensory table will have a well-rounded grouping of textures, such as water, dry rice, cotton balls, beans, and sand. These items allow your child to use most of their senses while discovering and exploring, and they can also promote verbal communication. These tables are great for calming rooms–a place where you child can go when they start to feel overstimulated and anxious–but they are perfect for everyday use, as well.

An exercise in help
If your child has trouble with asking for help or being verbal, try having him put together a simple puzzle with one piece missing (which you’ll hold). When he completes his end of the puzzle and finds that he needs something else to finish, he’ll ask for (or signal for) your help. Praise him for using his words and encourage him to try it again next time he needs assistance.

Use a light box
Light boxes are great tools for teaching a child with special needs. He can use them to trace a pattern you’ve selected, or you can help him make beautiful, kaleidoscope-like patterns with brightly colored tissue paper. Help him explore new ways to see things by placing colored plastic blocks on the light box and examining the way the color changes when you turn it on and off.

Get musical
For many children with special needs, music provides a necessary outlet. Nonverbal children especially connect with music and all the ways they can express themselves with it. If your child enjoys music, allow him to listen to his favorite songs daily and lead a dance where he can clap his hands and stomp his feet. Encourage him to sing along if the song has lyrics. This is also a great way for your child to be social if there are other children present.

Make a self portrait
Help your child create a self portrait by setting up a small mirror on a table. Do the same for yourself and show him how to look at each individual feature before committing it to paper. Encourage him to get creative and draw himself into a fantastical scene full of dragons or dinosaurs, or as a king with a bejeweled crown. This lesson is helpful for children who are very literal learners.