Back to school also means time to get into routines and schedules, including extracurricular or recreational activities. I am a strong proponent of having an activity for your child with special needs to participate in outside of their regular educational program. After all, recreation is a very important aspect of many of our lives to make it more fulfilling and meaningful.
Choosing the activity requires special consideration of your child’s visual needs, natural interests, and abilities.
If your child loves music, consider music therapy. A Music Therapist is trained to adapt lessons to fit the needs and interests of your child. You can search for individuals who provide music therapy in your area on this website: http://www.musictherapy.org/about/find/. Music has many documented positive benefits as well! You can look up the long term benefits of music on the brain to find out more! If learning to play an instrument seems too daunting, think about singing through harnessing the power of voice to create music.
If your child enjoys rough and tumble, wrestling may be an option to try. When one wrestler has a visual impairment, both competitors must begin a match using a “touch” start so that the wrestler with visual impairment can have awareness of his competitor’s starting position so that he’s not at a disadvantage.
If sensory or visual complexity is an issue, choose an activity that is not so loud or visually chaotic, such as golf. You can use any color ball(think about your child’s color preference), on a plain green background in a QUIET setting. The swing of the club can be broken down into smaller steps during the learning phase and eventually integrated into the child’s motor memory once they have mastered it.
Swimming lessons, individual or small group, are great to address reflexes, develop coordination and strength, while teaching at the child’s own pace.
If a team sport may be more up your child’s alley, there are recreational leagues that adapt for special needs by providing one-on-one volunteers to assist children with special needs, such as Miracle League baseball. Many communities have an a active Miracle League organization and you can check at this website to see if there are any in your area:
It may take some creativity to know how to adapt an activity for your child, but it is doable!