Guest Author - Celestine A. Jones
Halloween is an exciting time for most children. They get to dress in costumes, go trick or treating, and eat lots of candy. This presents a unique opportunity to teach social and academic skills for children with disabilities.
Develop ways for your child to spend time with other children. Invite his or her friends over for a party. The kids can play educational games, such as matching, sorting, or counting the pumpkins. Younger children can also have a sleep over. Prepare activities and turn it into a movie night. You donít want to give the kids nightmares, so limit the scary movies.
They can also learn safety tips for Halloween. Be sure to discuss the importance of walking in pairs. Teach them to stay on the side walk. They should only knock on doors if they see the light on. They should also know that it is not safe to eat treats before getting home and inspected by an adult. It would also be a great time to discuss body language and facial expressions. Children with disabilities often have problems reading nonverbal communication.
Turn their excitement into a project. Allow the students to learn about the history of Halloween. They can compare and contrast facts found during the research. They can also write a short paragraph about their feelings.
Verbal communication skills are just as important as nonverbal skills. Discuss how to make introductions and say thank you. Practice together to build confidence.
Although it is so convenient to purchase a Halloween costume, it would be so much more fun to make one. Turn this task into a family affair. Purchase materials or used materials from home to create matching costumes.
Eye contact is an important part of communication. Use this as an opportunity to teach the importance of making eye contact with others. Practice by doing the Stare Down Game or use a work sheet with a pair of eyes on it. Allow the kids to cut them out and stick it on their foreheads. Encourage the kids to look at the eyes and count. The kids that can count the longest wins the games.
The kids look forward to Halloween. Even teenagers get excited about going out on that night. It is imperative to keep safety first. Turn the night into a family and friend night and create an enriching learning experience.