The festivities are over and you’re in the midst of a wintery January, a month that’s bleak for many families. But, if your family includes a special needs child, January – and the winter – might feel as though it’s never going to end!
Don’t despair, we’ve got a couple of ideas to help you and your special needs child banish the January blues and start the New Year in a happier frame of mind!
A year can feel like a long time, particularly if you’re struggling through a cold and wet first month of it. One way to shrug off annoyance at being stuck indoors – or in a rut – is to take a look at any new activities, treatments or companies and see if any of them could be helpful to you.
There are often new charities or businesses that have opened and are offering something new to you. Perhaps you would like to arrange a fun day out for the family or your special needs child, but haven’t been able to find something in your area. Take some time to do a bit of online research and you might be surprised at what’s arrived in the past few months.
There are a couple of new activity centres that have opened in the past few months. They include:
If you find something that would be perfect for your special needs child, look into it further and make some firm plans. Even if its weather dependant you can still make a booking and have something to look forward to.
Beware though, once you start this, you might get an appetite for it. And, before you know it, you could have enough activities planned or under discussion, to keep you busy all year!
While all families with special needs children make a huge difference to their child’s life with the care and support they give them, there are ways to share that support on a bigger scale. Fund raising is one way you can do that, but there are other ways too.
If you fancy giving fundraising a go, it should be a pretty straight forward process to find, sign up to and take part in an event, either as a parent or as a family. It doesn’t have to be a marathon, but a 5K walk, a swimathon or a sponsored knit all have the same goal; to raise awareness and money. Just by entering you’re adding your support, which can really help a cause or charity that’s important to you.
Being outside with suitable pets or doing some gardening is another activity that’s proven to be beneficial for children with special needs. You don’t need to anything huge, even just planning and working on a patch of garden or a few pots would be beneficial and fun. As the weather isn’t quite right for that just yet, you could start making plans instead.
There are plenty of online resources to help with this, such as this ProFlowers Blog. You don’t need to create a whole sensory garden, although that could be a lovely project to do. But, just getting your special needs child outside, working, playing and planting should be enjoyable and beneficial too.
If you’re feeling even more ambitious, you could organise an event of your own, and, it doesn’t have to be a fund raiser. You could simply arrange a local event that other children and families with special needs can take part in and enjoy.
If your little one loves picnics, then why not arrange one, either an indoor or outdoor one, with friends, family or other families who have special needs children. Remember, just because you’re not raising money for a charity doesn’t mean you’re not doing some good.
If you start with a small group of say four children with special needs, you might be surprised to see how much the children and families enjoy the event. Now, this doesn’t have to spur you on to going bigger, but it could encourage a repeat performance for a different group of children. But, by trying something new that can help your special needs child, you’re trying something new that will make them happy.
Helping others is also a great way to make you feel happier and as though you’re really doing something. So, why not find some time to do some research, have a think and make some plans. You might be surprised at how having something to look forward to can lift your and your special needs child’s mood!
For some more ideas of what activities you could do with your special needs child, take a look the below links.
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Swimming is a fantastic inclusive activity to do with children with special needs. It’s a great sensory experience that is good fun and has positive benefits for both physical and mental health. It is also an activity that can be done all year round and doesn’t have to be weather dependent (depending on where you choose to swim!).