Toys special needs children will love…. recommended by experts

Like normal kids, our children with special needs love to have fun.

Hearing their giggles and laughter uplifts us- parents, caregivers, and even their teachers.

Playing, aside from giving them fun, promotes the enhancement of social skills and development of their imagination and creativity, as well as improvement of their fine and gross motor skills.

More so, learning the basic concepts like colors, shapes and numbers would be benefits from the right toys.


Choosing the best toys special needs children will love and recommended by therapists, should be top in our minds-parents, caregivers, and teachers, when we plan to buy them for our kids.

Toys that promote learning

I recently read a post from a behavior analyst who said that her daily life consists of treating children with autism spectrum disorders and when she gets home, she implements similar practices with her own children. She uses the same toys for the same reasons.

She believes that all kids want to have fun while they are learning.

Thus, parents need to find developmentally appropriate toys for their kids, whether special or not, to create opportunities for learning while playing.

For our special kids though, because they have delayed mental development, we have to choose toys which are recommended below their chronological age.

We have to consider their mental development. For example, a 10-year-old child with Down syndrome with a mental age of 4-5 years, would enjoy playing a toy for a 5-year old, because a toy for a 10-year-old might be too advanced for him. Toys about numbers for a 5-year old would be identification only of the numbers, or simple counting, but toys for a 10-year-old would be involved with addition, subtraction, or easy multiplication and division.

Here are some toys that experts suggest

1.Melissa & Doug K’s Kids Match and Build Soft BLOCKS SET ( click the image to see the price )

 

Block set develops imagination and motor skills

  • These blocks are washable, soft and lightweight, thus ideal for babies, toddlers and older kids with special needs, for easy manipulation and lifting.
  • Kids will learn to identify numbers, animals, and shapes.
  • Skills that they develop include sensory, fine motor, logical, creative, linguistic, communication, and self-esteem.

 

2. PUZZLES ( click the image to see the price )

 

Big puzzles for easy grip

  • Our special kids need big puzzles which are extra thick and with large knobs for easier grip.
  • These puzzles enhance their imagination and creativity.
  • Because of delayed mental development, our special kids need to play with simple puzzles so their minds can solve easy problems of identifying shapes and images.
  • Playing with puzzles also develop their fine motor skills, socialization and hand-eye coordination.

 

3. SPEAK TO ME ( click the image to see the price )

Magic laptop promotes verbal interaction and reading and imagination.

  • For kids with autism, toys that promote interaction like this laptop, that encourages a verbal reply when they push a button, are suitable.
  • Various categories include letters, numbers, farm animals and musical instruments.
  • The games within also enhances imagination, creativity and develops intelligence.

Toys that calm anxiety and improve behavior

Children with emotional and behavioral disorders like ADHD, need to balance fun and calm their anxiety while playing or just sitting down, maybe in a doctor’s office waiting impatiently for his turn.

Usually, they thrive on holding on to something familiar to them like a favorite toy or a calming thing like a pillow.

 

1. SENSORY RING and FIDGET TOY ( Click the image to see the price )

Sensory rings bring relaxation and calmness

  • These soft, flexible rings and rubber spikes reduce stress and anxiety by providing tactile stimulation to calm a racing mind and to bring restless hands busy with something, while doing writing in school or at home.
  • If your kids have short attention span, these bracelets sensory toys bring focus, attention and relaxation, so they are more attentive in school or even at home while doing homework.

 

2. STRETCHY DINO WRAP ( Click here to see the  price )

  • This wrap gets your special child to pretend to be little T-rex roaming around the house.
  • It is perfect for play, pretend, movement, compression and sensory integration.
  • Adults need to supervise the kid to dress up and tuck their hands into the sewn in pockets to wrap themselves snugly inside the stretchy cape.
  • It helps tactile defensive kids and sensory seekers.
  • Attention is sustained for a longer time because the kids enjoy pretend play a lot.

 

3. SENSATIONAL TEXTURED CIRCLE FIDGETS ( Click here to see the price )

  • They have tactile surfaces on each side for fidgeting and sensory exploration.
  • Kids can trace their fingers over the raised circles on one side and feel the fine bristles on the other side.
  • They could also be put on the floor where kids can tickle their feet with the bumps and the bristles.

Toys that Improve Kids’ Fine and Gross Motor Skills

1. GYMNIC HOP BALL ( click the image to see the price )

Improvement of Motor skills plus fun=Gymnic hop balls

  • These hop balls are made of heavy-duty yet soft vinyl latex-free material for long-lasting use.
  • Inflation by a hand or foot pump needs to be done by grown-ups.
  • They are great for exercise indoors and outdoors on smooth surfaces.
  • Our special kids will develop their body coordination, balance, and lymph circulation .
  • They come with a hand grip safety handle.

 

2. MAGNETIC NUMBER MAZE ( click the image to see the price )

Maze develops fine motor skills and number identification

  • Your special child will enjoy and develop fine motor skills as he guides little red balls with a magnetic pole.
  • It develops small muscles in the child’s hand to be able to hold the pencil properly for better writing skills.
  • This is also a learning tool for numbers  and counting.
  • Hand-eye coordination is also developed as the child guides the balls.

 

3. CRASH PAD ( click the image to see the price )

Crash pad lets kids enjoy jumping and develop gross motor skills

  • It is filled with a long lasting foam with heavy duty stitching, thus a  safe place for special kids to calm down and relax by sitting or lying down.
  • Children will enjoy crashing, jumping, exploring or cuddling, thus developing their gross motor skills and balance.
  • Suitable for kids up to 150 pounds

Parents and caregivers must play with their kids

Your presence in your special child’s activities will help him a lot to improve his social and cognitive skills.

Deep trust in you will be developed as well, as you regularly play with your special child.

Likewise, while playing with him, you are able to observe your child up close on how he interacts and how fast he is learning.

Remember, playing is the best form of bonding for you and your kid.

Playtime with a partner needs to be encouraged

There are various benefits if your special child is allowed to play with you and others.

As much as possible, expose your child to a playmate to promote engagement and interaction.

Various studies recently have shown that interactive experiences actually change the physical structure of the brain.

“We now have evidence from neuro-imaging studies (e.g., MRI, PET, and SPECT scans) that new neuro-pathways are created and connections among neurons are enhanced when the brain is stimulated,” explains Dr. Ron Savage, Executive Vice President of the North American Brain Injury Society and expert on neuro-developmental disabilities.

Based on these studies, special needs products and toys are made to improve motor skills, mobility, sensory processing and communication skills.

These specialized items can help children enhance their basic abilities while also soothing their anxiety and improving behavior.

Playtime provides both fun and opportunity for learning

Play therefore, is the best stimulation for children, especially when children are enjoying their toys and games, and parents and caregivers are devoted to helping them learn.

Studies have proven that loving relationships, meaningful toys, and time engaging in play together are the best ways to open avenues for our special kids to grow up and be the best that they can be.

So my dear parents and caregivers, please choose wisely what toys your child with special needs will enjoy and learn from.

It will be remarkable to witness the joy of your child while playing and in turn, his brain is stimulated to develop with added neurons for more wisdom.

 

“We participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, which provides a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no added cost to you. When you buy, you are able to help in the Special Education of kids with special needs in Romblon, Philippines.”

 

How do you choose toys for your special child? Do you observe that your kid learns while having fun? What is his favorite toy?

 

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Parenting a special child- surviving the challenges

Parenting a special child
Parenting a special child is a lifetime career.

As a parent, you have most probably bonded with your child even before he was born. You have started to talk to him while he was in your tummy.

You have planned the look of his nursery and you have marked  where to place his crib and his closet.

Maybe you have visualized his first birthday party, the theme and even the giveaways.

But then on his delivery, you learn that your child is special, then you will be in shock and devastated.

Especially if you were not ready emotionally of his arrival and you had no idea that he is  “special,” at all.

Or maybe, your baby is having awesome development on his first few months to his second year or 18 months and gradually declines or show signs of regression, it’s also very depressing.

Sometimes, new moms feel ” guilty ” delivering a special child.

It’s not your fault. Nobody wants her kid to have special needs.

Nevertheless, he is your child, you waited for him for nine months, and he needs you.

Always remember that he is an angel, a source of joy for your family.

There will be challenges in taking care of him, but with the support of your family and relatives, you will be okay.

Don’t feel guilty, don’t be embarrassed, accept your child ” as he is.”

We know that parenting a special child involves a lot of struggles, but just be open and offer him unconditional love and surviving the challenges will come naturally.

After all, a mother’s love is all it takes to nurture your special kid.

A gift from God

He was given to you because you have the capacity to take care of him, to love him, and to help him develop to his fullest potential.

Celebrate the birth of your son or daughter, including his or her inadequacies.

Don’t focus on his disability. Be happy with his milestones, even though they are slow.

Here are some tips on parenting a special child, your child, and in the end, surviving the challenges.

Remember you are an awesome mom or dad, and you are the primary caregiver of your baby. You owe him your care and concern and your whole self.

Love your child unconditionally

  • If you are the mom, be proud that you have carried this baby yourself. You have nurtured him even before he was born, so just continue to be there for him, no matter what.
  • If you are the dad, pour out your love to your kid and be hands on in taking care of him. Support your wife and take turns in taking care of your special child. He needs you more than ever.

Educate yourself

  • Ask your doctor and therapists if you have questions or doubts.
  • Read books or journals about your child. The more you know about his condition, the more you will understand how he behaves.
  • Connect with other parents who have the same child as yours. Share information with one another. Join social media groups if you can.

Here are some books that you can check out at Amazon ( click on the image )

My child has autism
What is autism?
Down Syndrome- parent's guide
Learn about Down Syndrome
The lucky few
A family’s experience with special kids
Kids in the syndrome mix
Kids in the syndrome mix

 

 

 

 

 

“We participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, which provides a means for us
to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon associate, I earn from
qualifying purchases at no added cost to you. When you buy, you are able to help in the 
Special Education of kids with special needs in Romblon, Philippines.”

Bond with your child

  • Involve yourself as much as possible in his activities especially in his playtime.
  • Find time to include playing and reading with your child as part of  your daily schedule, even for just half an hour. The longer, the better.
  • Daily time with him is really important for your child to develop deep trust in you.
  • He will feel that he is important and that you really care for him.
  • You will have firsthand observation on his progress.
  • Playtime and reading are some of the greatest bonding activities that you will have with him. You will share with his fun and joy as he learns to explore things.

Connect with your family and friends.

Family support to make caring for your special child easier
A family’s support makes caring for your special child easier.
  • Don’t isolate yourself.
  • Make regular dates with your partner.
  • Continue to attend family gatherings.
  • Share with your family the progress and milestones of your child.
  • Communicate regularly with your family, especially with your spouse, parents and siblings. They could always support you emotionally as well as help you with baby-sitting from time to time.
  • Schedule playtime for your child with his cousins, to develop rapport and acceptance.

 

Take care of yourself

  • Have lots of sleep and rest. Eat nutritious food. You need to be healthy and not get sick.
  • Exercise regularly. Daily walks will enable you to have time to think and recharge.
  • Go out and find time to relax with your friends and other adult members of your family.
  • Be proud that you are able to take care of your special child. Don’t dwell on self-pity.

Find and join support groups

  • Know that there are lots of parents and families out there who are in the same boat as you are.
  • Learning from other parents will help you how to be always ready for your kid if problems arise.
  • Knowing that you’re not the only one having struggles will make your load light.
  • Schedule playtime with other kids with the same special needs as your child.
  • Celebrate milestones of your kids with other parents.

Collaborate with his teachers, caregivers and health advocates

  • Attend meetings and consultations when the teacher and therapist schedule them. Be open to their suggestions.
  • Ask questions and follow up the progress of your child.
  • Suggest to his teacher and therapist if you think something needs to be done or addressed with about your kid’s behavior. After all, you are always with him and you are able to observe him close enough and somehow, you know how he copes up with challenges.
  • When your child arrives from school, look at his backpack for homework and help him do it.
  • Acknowledge the support that his teacher and therapist gives him.

Celebrate your child’s progress and milestones

  • Keep a record of his milestones and progress in his baby book.
  • Capture his first walk, first word, etc in pictures or videos.
  • Share his progress with your friends and family.
  • Reward him with a toy or food for something that he has accomplished, like toilet training or being able to write the alphabet or his name.
  • Let him join the class concert or program and be there for him.

Ask for help

  • Inquire from your child’s doctor and therapist about any problem or struggle that arises and seek advise on how to deal with it.
  • Support from family, even from grandparents are really important. Babysitting , turns in caring if child is sick or in the hospital, or company for you to the doctor or therapist visits are all important.
  • There is always help and support if you feel overwhelmed. I’m sure even neighbors and friends can pitch in help if you ask them.

You and your child are partners

Parenting a child with special needs maybe overwhelming and tiring, but seeking the help of others, accepting your child as he is, focusing on his strengths, milestones and progress and taking care of yourself are all very important so you can thrive and your child likewise will develop to his fullest potential.

Being a parent of a child with special needs is indeed very challenging but your rewards will come from your kid himself when he shows you his progress, even though they are slow.

When  he calls you ” Mom,” or ” Dad, ” for the first time at 3-5 years old, then you will jump with joy. You know that from there, everything will just fall into place.

You are capable of becoming the best mom or the best dad to your child with special needs and be proud of that.

After all, caring for your child, loving him for what he is and celebrating his milestones will always bring immense joy in you and your whole family.

As a parent, how do you take care of your special child? How do you bond with him or her? Do you find time for yourself and ask help from other family members as well? Please share your experiences with us.

 

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How to prepare for camping with a special child- summer escapade galore!!

Now that school is almost over and summer has begun, what better way to relax but to go camping!

Plan and prepare what to bring so nothing is missed and everybody can enjoy and have fun.

But wait, can you bring your special child with the whole family?

Of course, he may have special needs but he has the right to enjoy and spend time with everybody.

This will be a special bonding time for everyone – to relax, unwind, breathe some fresh air and enjoy nature.

Let’s go and delve on how to prepare for camping with a special child in tow.

I promise you, it will be a summer escapade galore!

Where to go

Months or weeks in advance, you need to plan where the family wants to go and reserve or book the place.

I assume you did this already. Did you book a cabin or a tent area? Or are you bringing your camper? Either way, all three are fun places to stay.

Is your site somewhere close, like half an hour ride or maybe up to 2 hours is good. But some families love to go long driving, like a 3-4 hour or more travel, which might be uncomfortable though for the kids, especially your special one.

You can actually make a long trip comfy by breaking it into shorter trips. How do you do that?

Rest in between, like after an hour or two, look for a park with a picnic table or a grocery store with some benches outside where you can rest or maybe eat your snacks or lunch. Even a 30-45 minute rest would give everyone a space to relax and a time to stretch and fill the hungry tummy.

Then, off you go again for another ride. Make sure that you let Dad or whoever is driving know that you need to stop every after 1-2 hours of driving to recharge.

Plan your activities and meal preparation

Planning is key to success, comfort, and fun in camping.

If you are camping with your extended family or friends, like what we do all the time, for sure there maybe a minimum of 4-5 families or around 16-25 people.

For a big group like this, it will be surely fun and the most important thing is to decide how you will prepare your meals. For our group, we usually assign which family prepares this or that meal, so we prepare and cook only once or twice for that weekend get away. On the first day though, that is on check in day, each family brings packed lunch or dinner, so we don’t worry what to eat when we get to the site and we can focus on pitching our tents or preparing for the first night.

That said, you know what food and cooking utensils to bring when you have planned your menu for your assigned day and specific meal. For example, you don’t need to bring eggs when you are assigned to prepare dinner on a Saturday.

Swimming is an all-time favorite activity for kids including your special one. When booking for a camp, always look if the site has a swimming pool or a suitable lake. Be sure to be with your kids at all times during these activities for safety reasons.

Outdoor games like badminton, frisbee or parlor games would be fun as well for the whole family. Be sure to bring those rackets and shuttlecocks, frisbee flying disks and materials for parlor games like sacks, big hankies, empty bottles, etc.

What to bring

It is best to make a list of what to bring so you will not forget anything or at least you will be able to bring the most essential things that you need.

I remember in one of our tent campings, my husband forgot to bring our sleeping bags, it’s good that my brother’s family were in their camper with heating, so they let us use their sleeping bags.

Here is a list of what you will need:

1. Shelter and sleeping needs

  • Tent- make sure that what you have from years before is still usable and clean, otherwise, you have to buy again. Does it fit everybody or do you need an additional tent if everybody will not be accommodated? If you want to purchase new one, you can buy at AMAZON by clicking here.
  • Sleeping mattress or airbed- don’t forget to bring the pump to put some air
  • Sleeping bag – it is usually cold late at night and early morning, so this is really important; suitable for one to 3 -persons depending on the number of family members; lots of choices at AMAZON.
  • Pillows
  • Extra blankets- the regular ones that you can use at daytime when you want to have a nap or just want to lie down
  • Weighted blanket- if you have one, bring it!
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2. Cooking materials

  • Stove
  • Match or a lighter
  • Propane
  • Kettle, frying pan, rice cooker – you have to know what food are you cooking so you know what to bring
  • Laddle
  • Chopping board

3. Eating utensils

  • Disposable plates, spoons and forks, glasses
  • Serving spoons
  • Napkins

4. Clean up materials including stuff for bathing and swimming

  • Towels
  • Tissue paper
  • Boxed tissue
  • Toiletries-including soap, body wash, body scrub or sponge, shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, dental floss
  • Bathing suit
  • Sunblock
  • Make-up, lipstick, deodorants
  • Diapers ( click to buy ) for small kids or even for your non-toilet trained special one

5. Food and Water ( think of your assigned meal plan so you don’t miss anything )

  • Bottled water
  • Water for cooking in a large container
  • Rice
  • Cooler with ice and hot dogs, pre-cooked food
  • Fruits
  • Snacks-cookies, chips, nuts
  • Drinks, including milk for young kids and your special one
  • Coffee or chocolate for grown-ups
  • Bread
  • Travel food in a separate bag for long trips- usually cookies, nuts, including water
  • Pre-packed lunch or dinner depending on your check-in time so you can concentrate on putting up your tent upon arrival
  • Other food- meat, fish, dried food such as beans, eggs, vegetables, spices, salt, marshmallow, etc

6. Clothes

  • Sweaters, jackets, toque, scarves, mitts- Be prepared for cold nights and on early mornings
  • Jogging pants- especially because there could be mosquitoes or ticks
  • Jammies, preferably long-sleeve tops
  • Socks
  • Shorts and light-colored or white shirts for daytime use when it’s usually hot
  • Underwears
  • Caps or hats

7. Other Essentials

  • Flashlight
  • Light for the tent and for your dining table
  • Camp chairs
  • Alcohol or disinfectant
  • Sunblock
  • Insect Repellant
  • Coins- some showers need coins to function
  • Hanging ropes for wet towels and clothes
  • Books and board games – reading to your special one can still continue outside or inside your
  • Camera or phone
  • House keys
  • Travel diary if you are fond of recording your experiences
  • CD’s to entertain you while traveling for long trips
  • Slippers
  • Balls, Badminton sets, freebies
  • Small toys for your special child

What do you do during camping?

When you have small kids and a special child with you, fun activities need to be planned so they don’t get bored.

Activities that kids enjoy are swimming, outdoor sports like biking, ball games, badminton, etc.

Hiking could also be fun if your special child can walk by himself. Let him stroll at the start then maybe carry him later in your back if he gets tired. Then plan to go back to your tent at this point, otherwise your back will get sore carrying him for a very long walk.

As you progress with your hike, show your special child the plants, flowers, trees, or animals around you and this could be an educational experience for him as well.

Campfire and barbecuing or grilling hot dogs and marshmallows are things that they also love. This is a special time for families and friends to bond by sharing experiences or jokes around a campfire, or sharing music by singing in a guitar accompaniment, if your family is musically-inclined.

If possible, tell your kids to limit the use of social media ( phones, laptops, DVDs, etc ) and instead encourage them to play active games and interact with family especially siblings and cousins their age.

After the camping, what?

Be sure to ask your older kids to help you out with folding the tent and keeping all the things that you need to bring home.

Make your trip back home fun by playing music and singing while traveling. If you think your special child cannot handle the noise, put on him an earphone.

You can also play games in your car, like the ” I spy ” game where you take turns in saying something that you see around, for example, a red flower, and let the other family members guess where it is.

When you are already close to where you live, you can eat out in a restaurant so you don’t have to prepare another meal at home because by then you will be very tired.

Then, putting away stuff is another hurdle to do. Try to keep all things in their proper places so when you need them again in your next camping trip, you know where to look for them.

Inspect all your stuff and clothing to make sure that you don’t have ticks with you.

Remember, that weekend with your family including your special one is a precious event. He will always cherish those times with you. Keep memories alive through pictures and videos.

Lastly, if possible, allot a day for rest and to put all stuff in proper places before you go back to work , so productivity in your workplace is not affected.

Till next camping!

 

Do you and your family love camping? Do you always bring your child with special needs? Not that hard, right? Please share your experiences with us.

 

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Special education teaching-facing challenges and feeling fulfilled

I met her and attended to her medical needs when she was still a baby. Then she grew up and I lost track of her.

Until recently, with the power of the internet, I virtually met her again. I think I befriended her sometime on facebook, so I get to read her stories in messenger.

One day, she wrote that she is a Special Education teacher. I engaged with her right then and there and asked her if she would be up for an interview about her career.

And she agreed!

So here goes Ms Rica’s story on Special Education teaching and how she faces challenges, thus becoming better at her job each day, and feeling fulfilled with her career.

 

 

How long have you been teaching?

“I have been in the field for six years and counting.”

Have you been teaching special kids all these years?

“Yes, I am currently a certified Special Education (SPED ) teacher here in the US since August 2016 and I handle students with moderate to severe Emotional Behavior Disorder (EBD), Specific Learning Disability and Developmental Delay. 

In the Philippines, I taught for three years students diagnosed with mild to severe Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down Syndrome, Developmental Delay, Mental Retardation, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ( ADHD ), and Attention Deficit Disorder ( ADD ). “

Who motivated you to become a Special Education teacher?

“My mother is an elementary school teacher and even as a kid, I already envisioned myself to follow her footsteps. I would play as a “teacher ” with kid neighbors and relatives as my “pupils”. I loved teaching these small kids and it was always a happy time for us.

But it was my Aunt Mariza, my dad’s sister, who encouraged me to become a Special Education mentor. She said it is a fulfilling career.

My aunt’s influence, coupled with my childhood dream, the example that I saw in my mom, and my reflections on my future all contributed to what I am today. I believe my love for children, be they normal or special also inspired me to follow this path.”

What is your typical day like?

“Everyday ( from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM ) I teach all 24 of my children with special needs with ages ranging from 5-13. With the help of six teacher assistants, I handle the kids from 30 minutes to one and a half hour long depending on their disability, some in groups of 2-4, but I also do “one on one” if with severe impairment.

From 3:00 to 4:00 PM, I do paperwork and meetings. These include checking of worksheets, Individualized Education Program ( IEP ) meetings and helping my teacher assistants do their service logs.

After school, I try to connect online with my family and friends back home. On weekends, I explore beautiful places with local friends.”

Any struggles or big challenges on being a SPED teacher?

“Yes of course, and there’s a lot. Every day has its own story, such as adjusting to your students’ mood swings, pacifying different kind of outbursts and temper tantrums, etc. “

How do you handle a very difficult child?

” There are three major factors that I consider in dealing with a difficult child.

First, is building a connection with the child. I really have to let them feel that I care and want to help them .

Second is identifying the best calming technique that is suitable for that difficult child. Would it be a massage therapy, art therapy, play therapy, the use of behavior charts, chunking method of providing the activities, etc.

Third is to always make sure that you are firm and consistent in implementing the rules or agreement you have with the child because this difficult child may just be testing your patience limit.

Once I have established the good connection and authority as a teacher towards him or her, then I can eventually de-escalate the behavior problem and divert the situation into something positive. “

Do you involve the parents in teaching their kids?

” Yes, this is really important and should not be overlooked.

I am dedicated to helping my students improve their academic and behavioral performances, but when the parents are not doing their part in implementing the suggested IEP goals that I have created for their child, for most instances, there is no progress.

On the contrary, when the parents are doing their part, it is very evident that there is improvement in their child’s overall performance.

Having a strong parent and teacher partnership is essential in the special children’s progress. “

How do you feel at the end of a school-day?

” Like a typical teacher, I feel exhausted after school. However, I really feel happy when I am able to control my students’ daily outbursts and help them make a difference in their lives despite their disabilities.”

What makes you happy or fulfilled on a certain day?

” Seeing my students enjoy the tasks given to them and witnessing their progress are the things that truly make my day happy. No amount of money can satisfy that kind of feeling. “

Any advice/s on those who plan to pursue a career as a Special Education teacher?

” Being a SPED teacher is a challenging but a fulfilling job. You need to have more patience, 100% dedication and a big heart for children with special needs.

You must be ready to experience the worst case scenarios. I have been bitten, slapped, spat on, punched and kicked.

I learned my lesson by being alert all the time.

As long as you are truly passionate with your career, it will feel as if you are just doing your “purpose” and not being paid to do a “job”.

How do you de-stress after a difficult day?

” I always communicate with my family especially with my mother and my sister.

I also try to socialize with my friends after work and on weekends.

I make sure I leave work on time and schedule things that I love doing, like hiking, baking, and trying new food and restaurants. “

There’s a point in our career that we realize we made a difference in someone’s life, in your case a special child’s life. Please share your story with our readers.

” When I receive flattering comments from the parents, that’s when I know, I am doing my purpose.

I will never forget that time when one of the parents of my students in the Philippines told me that she wanted to adopt me as her daughter because she really likes my attitude and dedication in my chosen career.

In addition to this, a lot of the parents of my former students, and even my tutees in the Philippines were encouraging me to build my own school in the future.

With God’s grace, timing and requirements, I can probably do that, but of course, I need to consider a lot of things and pursue further studies.

Hopefully I will build my own school in the future because it is my dream.

I would really feel exultant and be the happiest person in the whole universe once I achieve that goal. “

 

Lucky for Ms Rica because she has studied something that she loves doing leading to enjoyment in her career, thus she is now so passionate in teaching her students with special needs.

This only goes to show that if we love what we do, struggles become challenges and we can overcome these with acceptance in our hearts that this is just part of the package.

We also welcome these challenges because through them, we learn and become better in our craft.

We hope we can be triumphant with you Ms Rica when that time comes that you will become directress of your very own school for special children.

We wish you all the luck in your future endeavors.

 

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How does your special child thrive in school? Does he enjoy going to school everyday? Does he talk about how his teacher is so kind and helpful? We love to hear your comments. Please post them below.

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Are you a Special Education teacher? Do you feel that you have touched a special child’s heart and have contributed to his or her development or improvement of his disability? Please share your story with us by commenting below.

 

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Special Educational Needs for Children-starting early is the key!

Any parent with a special needs child would want the best for her kid.

A caring mom would be very happy hearing her special kid speak for the first time or learn that she is able to read the ABCs and write the alphabet or her name. Even if the special son or daughter is already way above the age that they’re supposed to.

A dad who is very supportive of his kid’s development would try his best to find the number one school for him or the most dedicated teacher out there.

It is without question that the special educational needs for these children should be on the top priority when considering their growth and development, and of course their future.

Let me present to you some information about the ongoing program in the town where I grew up and where we are giving our support.

The Special Education ( SPED ) Program at the Romblon East Central School ( RECS )

When we started Pangga ta Ikaw in 2015, Brittany, my niece, interviewed the pioneer SPED teacher, Mrs. Lulu Lo and read some materials in the school about the program. Likewise, she was able to witness how teacher Lulu spent half an hour or so teaching a visually-impaired  kid.

She was so amazed at how that time was spent by the teacher in guiding the special child.

The Special Education teacher doing one-on-one with a visually impaired child.

 

Brittany wrote a very nice article then about the program and her experiences, which I posted in our Facebook page.

Here goes….

Romblon East Central School’s ( RECS ) Special Education (SPED) Program is dedicated to supporting Romblomanons of different ages with special needs through the development of necessary social, academic and livelihood skills.

The establishment of SPED was supposed to start in the 1990’s, but unfortunately didn’t push through due to lack of resources. It was only in the year 2003 when RECS – SPED was fully established, with Mrs. Lulu Marzonia-Lo, a trained visual impairment educator who humbly taught SPED classes starting with only 5 children from different barangays around the municipality.

In the program, handling just one student is equivalent to a teacher-student ratio of 1:10 when compared to regular, non-SPED classes thus the maximum number per SPED class required by the Department of Education should only be 4 students. However, due to growing public awareness about the advantages of the program, 3 Philippine Normal University trained teachers are now catering a total of 23 students having special disabilities such as ADHD, HI (hearing disabilities), autism, blindness and Down Syndrome to name a few.

Considering the variety of disability areas, the program’s curriculum is specially crafted around these to ensure high quality special education. While most of their students are taught as a class, some of them are given special, individualized 30-minute lessons where they are taught hand coordination, mobility and space familiarization one on one.

On the other hand, 4 transitional students of ages 20 years and above are taught how to do haircuts, prepare the dining table, cook and sell what they made at the RECS canteen for them to earn additional income and consequently, become more independent individuals in the future.

With only a few years under their belt, the program is still very much in the development stage. Thriving only on minimal government subsidy and a few private donations, financial constraints hinder both the teaching staff and the families of these special children to deliver the best possible education there is for these children.

And because parents tend not to send their kids to school due to lack of resources, there was even a time when Mrs. Lo had to sponsor the transportation allowance and let five of her SPED students from the barrios to live in her apartment for them to be able to go to school.

This is where our help comes in. We need you to help enable Romblon East Central School’s Special Education Program continue their legacy of providing the very best, and only the best special education for the students and their families.

A very touching article and very informative as well. This was written three years ago and the program has expanded tremendously.

From an initial enrolment of five ( all visually impaired ) in 2003, each year enrolment adds up.

Last year in 2017 they enrolled 27 special kids under 3 Special Education teachers. Of course not counting the ones who have been mainstreamed in the regular classes. These kids included 5 with Down syndrome, 5 with autism, 4 with hearing impairment, 1 with visual impairment , 10 with intellectual disability, and 2 with behavior and emotional problems.

So, why do special kids have to be enrolled in Special Education programs?

As parents or caregivers , what are your goals for your kids? Do you want them to gain knowledge as fast as they can or would you want your kid to become independent and productive someday?

I’m sure you always want the best for your kids by providing them with special education suited to their capabilities and to let them start as early as possible.

To quote the Objectives of the SPED-RECS:


” The Special Education shall be the development and maximization of learning competencies as well as the inculcation of values to make the learners with special needs a useful and effective member of society. “

It goes without saying that the mentors only want the special kids to develop the best that they can be, to develop their fullest potential and for them to learn values and traits such that they become productive, independent citizens.

I have so much respect and admiration to these teachers who are so passionate in guiding and encouraging these children with special needs. They must have lots of patience and love for their craft that they are able to fulfill their roles so well. I’m sure the parents of these kids echo my high regard for their kids’ mentors as well.

Interventions in the SPED program

Various interventions are implemented in the program with the objective of teaching the kids basic skills like fine and gross motor skills, depending on where the level of the kids are when they start school.

Activities are usually made fun to promote learning, like using toys and letting them do art activities.

Film viewing in class widens a special kid's horizon.

Film viewing could be done as a group activity where children can enjoy as well as learn the moral lesson of the story or add to their vocabulary.

Likewise, interventions  involve skill-building strategies that are designed to progress special children  to advance their  academic knowledge.

More often, one-on-one is  introduced because these kids need special attention and their attention span is  very limited.

Daily living skills are taught to prepare the special kids to be independent.

Ordinary chores at home like cooking are taught in the SPED classroom.

 

Daily living skills, like cooking  or cleaning , are likewise implemented for older kids to prepare them to become independent and productive as they age.

The children of course are able to learn at  their own pace; no two children are alike. Several factors are into play, most especially their mental development, their readiness to learn and the parents’ support.

And the most important thing? Start the kids early!

 

 

What happens after SPED?

The special children at the SPED-RECS are mainstreamed to grade one once they are able to read, can do simple math and no longer hyperactive.

The SPED teacher sits in with them in the regular class for two weeks until they are comfortable in their new classes. They are also being followed up regularly as to their progress.

Many times because of their disabilities, these kids are bullied by the normal kids. This is another challenge that these kids have to face. Of course with the support of teachers and their parents they can overcome these obstacles eventually.

It is so heartwarming to learn that  a lot of the special children who have started at the SPED-RECS are able to continue and be successful  in their studies.

Success stories… where are they now?

Mark, my nephew who has Down syndrome is now 9 years old but still unable to talk, he only has some babbling sounds when he complains . He started the SPED program two years ago. Initially, he had very limited attention span. He couldn’t sit still, but now he listens to his teacher 30-45 minutes at a time. He can now hold manipulatives and can sort geometric shapes but with maximum assistance. He is able to listen to short stories as well. Teacher Bing, his very patient mentor, hopes he learns to hold crayons and pencils soon for him to be able to scribble and doodle.

Chloe, who is hearing-impaired, just finished Grade 9 ( Special program in Arts ) with honors. She was started in a regular Kindergarten school and the teacher observed that she was probably deaf and mute because she never talked. After 2 years in regular school, she was moved to the SPED program at the age of eight. Soon after, the teacher heard her talk for the first time when she was bullied by a classmate. She was stammering and talking in phrases. Started on one-on-one lessons, she eventually learned to read and talk in sentences. After two years, she was mainstreamed to Grade one and the rest is history. She has also a special talent in drawing thus, Chloe was a consistent contestant in sci-art competitions in school. She is  a graceful folk dancer as well.

CJ is another hearing impaired kid who started  the SPED program early at 6 years old. With constant mentoring, he learned the sign language and was able to talk. After 3 years in SPED, and after learning to read and write, he was mainstreamed to regular school and continued,  until recently, he just finished grade 9. He is a good dancer as well. Although able to talk already, he still uses sign language at times, to express himself fully.

Truly, we cannot ignore how  vital Special Education is for our special children.

Early intervention is the key to maximize their learning capabilities. We have seen that they can excel in school if properly guided in the beginning.

They may start late with learning their basic skills like reading and writing, but once they are able,  there’s no stopping them to succeed.

 

Do you have a child with special needs and is presently enrolled in a special education program ? Please share with us how he is doing in school. Leave your comments below.

 

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