Inclusion is Getting Parents Involved

Inclusion is Getting Parents Involved

Every child wants to be and feel included with their peers. For a child with special needs, it can be difficult, and they may need a helping hand from you, their parent. The most important thing is to make sure your child is comfortable. With a little planning, there are several ways to help your child feel included in the community and with their peers.


Playdates are a great way to help your child with social skills and positive interaction with his peers. Here are a few tips on creating a successful playdate:

  • Though your first thought may be to set up playdates with only other special needs children, it is important and more beneficial to include children without special needs as well.
  • Talk to his teachers at school and find out if there are any children who he seems to get along with well or shares similar interests. Use this as a starting point when making connections with other parents. Parent groups can also be a wonderful way to meet new parents.
  • When choosing an activity for his playdate, stick with generally liked kid activities, such as going to the park or having a mini ice cream social. Focus on his interests and build upon that. Remember the most important thing is to make sure he is comfortable and not overwhelmed.
  • Start off small with only one other child. As his comfort level grows, you can start to include more children and have bigger events.
  • Invite the parents too. Not only will you have another set of watchful eyes, but it gives you a chance at a new friendship as well. Everybody wins!
  • Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t go as planned. Try your best to evaluate what went wrong (was he overstimulated?, having an off day?, etc.) and try again.

Extracurricular Activities

Whether it is art or soccer, signing your child up for an extracurricular activity can help her create new friendships and develop and maintain her social skills, while doing something she enjoys. Extracurricular activities also provide her with structure and enforce skills such as following directions.

The Arts

It may have never crossed your mind that a concert or trip to the movie theater was possible with a child with special needs. However, a lot of theaters and concert halls have special events for children with special needs, that are laid back and easy going. So, if she wants to run up and down the isles half-way through the movie, it is alright. In fact she probably won’t be the only one. Check with your local theater/concert hall, or contact the local chapter of organizations, such as The Autism Society, for details and a list of upcoming child friendly events.   

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Inclusion is Getting Parents Involved
Shandy Marso, Contributor 

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