Holidays are often a difficult time for people with special needs. This article describes ways in which teachers can help relieve holiday stress for students with disabilities.
Holidays Should Be Fun--For Everyone!
Students with disabilities find it difficult to go out and enjoy their holidays the way other children do. In fact, holidays can be a very stressful time for them. They miss their friends who they get to see everyday. They miss their routine and the different activities they do in school. Its difficult for them to travel or visit relatives as other houses may be very uncomfortable for them to stay in. Sometimes parents just leave their kids with disabilities in front of the TV the whole day because they don’t know how to occupy them. Here are some ideas for teachers to help relieve holiday stress for students with disabilities.
Schedule the Holiday With Parents
Scheduling the holiday with parents well in advance can help parents to think about and plan their holiday ahead of time. Give them ideas for different things they can do, and even resources to help them plan their holiday like websites or addresses of travel agents who make travel plans for people with special needs. Also, when you start this conversation with parents it will motivate them to plan, and do something for the holidays. One such resource is Disabled Access Holidays.
Prepare the Child
Prepare the child well in advance. Help the children talk about holidays and special holiday memories. Put up a calendar in which you count days up to the holidays. Help the children understand that holidays are just a short break and they’ll all be back together soon.
Plan Projects or Homework for the Holidays
Give the class special projects to do during the holidays. Projects can be open-ended like collecting and sticking different kinds of leaves in a scrapbook, making a photo album to share with the class, making a poster about things they like, or writing a story. Tell them all to bring their completed projects on the first day of school and share them with the class.
Summer camps can be a great way to spend the holidays as well as learn and grow. Find summer camps in your area that are accessible to children with disabilities. Give information to parents about such camps. There are websites which advertise such camps, like Wonderland Camp. Do, however, consider safety issues before you send your child to a camp. More tips about camps and safety may be found right here on Bright Hub Education.
In today’s world there are more and more options for people with disabilities. There are many resorts and hotels that make accommodations for people with disabilities. You could also do a home exchange. Find a family with a child with a similar disability and exchange your home with them for a few weeks. Their home, too, will be accessible and convenient for the child with a disability. Matching Houses gives you more information on disabled home exchange.
Get Parents to Plan Together
Plan a meeting for the parents of the special needs children in your class or school to talk about what they are going to so during the holidays. It will give parents more ideas. Moreover, parents who can’t go out for various reasons can plan small parties or other activities in the neighborhood itself for their kids. This will give the children something to look forward to, and also a chance to meet their friends during the holidays.
Encourage parents to enroll their child in a special class. It could be art, sculpture etc. It’s ok if the child can’t perform as well as the other children, but at least it will be fun. It will also be a chance to get out of home and meet other people.
Make a Plan
Being aware about this issue of holiday stress for students with disabilities is the first step toward helping children deal with it. Work with parents and help them to work out a plan for the holidays. This will help your children have a great and memorable holiday.