The following strategies can be used to help children with disabilities participate in learning activities:
- Arrange rooms carefully, making adaptions to ensure that every child has access to materials and experiences, indoors and outdoors. Consider moving sensory table to floor level for better access to children with physical disabilities.
- Set up centers so that more skilled peers can model for children with disabilities. Encourage children to work in pairs or "buddies" to play, explore, and solve problems.
- Plan ahead when taking walks or field trips to avoid obstacles that may prevent a child from participating. (stairs, grass, streets)
- Use visual cues, body language, and environmental setup/arrangement to help children understand what is being communicated.
- Break down activities into individual steps with clear directions and prompting. Use auditory, physical, and visual cues as necessary.
- Adjust time lengths for completing tasks being sure to provide plenty of time for independence.
- Use specific adaptive materials and equipment to provide additional support to facilitate learning. Modify equipment to facilitate independent use such as adding handles to tools for easier gripping or textural cues for children with vision challenges.
- Provide and use transition cues/objects to assist children during routines such as "first and then" cards on a visual board.
- Continue to use routines and every day events to help children learn or practice new skills.
- Develop experiences and provide materials to facilitate independent participation by each child.
- Offer minimal assistance necessary for each child to be successful within experiences.
- Label and/or color-code materials to aid recognition, selection, or use of materials.
- Teach using concrete and abstract representations of objects and ideas. Continue ongoing use if necessary.
- Provide strategies and supports that allow for and encourage expressive communication for making choices, indicating needs, and participating in peer conversations and discussions.
Learn the Signs. Act Early: Track child's milestones from 2 months to age 5 years of age
Family Voices: For families/friends of children with special health care needs and disabilities.
Center for Early Literacy Learning: Practice guides with adaptations for children with disabilities.
Toy Buying Tips for Children with Special Needs: From the American Academy of Pediatrics