It is our spring vacation from school and we just had our annual Easter egg hunt and the kids had a blast! Including your children with or without special needs in holiday festivities is important. My youngest child (the one with the glasses as pictured below) is 2.5 years old. Although he is adorable, affectionate, witty, and says the cutest things, he could also be feisty, very active, stubborn and demanding. He has screaming tantrums in public and can wriggle himself out of any seatbelt. Like people say, he has the “terrible two’s.” Including him in activities and taking him out could be stressful for me, my husband and his siblings. Of course, it is easier not to include him and have him stay with a babysitter as we go to different events and socials. But we consider the importance of general exposure towards the daily activities and events in a child’s life. We look at his siblings and see how important it is to include him in the same activities and socials as his siblings. We keep in mind the importance of not singling him out because of his “unique personality and character.” Although, we have not yet traveled on a plane as a family knowing that it will be an adventure to itself!
For children with special needs, it is important that they are exposed to what typical children are exposed to. Have the child be included in egg hunts, opening presents at Christmas and presents on their birthday. It is as equally important for exposure if the child with special needs has siblings who may be typical. Children with special needs (depending on the level of cognition) are observant and aware of their environment and surroundings. We as educators and family members consider their feelings and show respect by treating them as they would any other child. As a teacher of children with special needs, I understand it takes patience, persistence and enthusiasm. I understand it is easier to say things than to actually perform the task. With initiation and consistency, it would become second nature. Please feel free to comment or ask questions. Have a restful and pleasurable spring break!