Fidgets and Sensory Tools for Children with Special Needs
Do you tap your pen in meetings? Wiggle your foot under the table? Doodle? It’s hard to sit completely still for us as adults, so we find ways to help us pay attention. It’s even harder for our children with special needs. In this blog post, we’ll talk about fidgets and sensory tools for children with special needs.
- What are fidgets and sensory tools?
When our eyes are watching and our ears are listening, we learn. This can be a hard task for children with ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and more. Fidgets and sensory tools are small items that help children participate in Bible lessons. They can be objects like squeeze balls, putty, or stretchy noodles. Basically, a fidget is something that can be held in a child’s hand to help them focus.Fidgets sound like chaos
- Fidgets sound like chaos!
Well, you can’t just put out fidgets without direct instruction! They do look like toys, and even adults who enter the room will want to play with them!
So you have to directly introduce the fidgets and teach the children how to use them appropriately. Pick one fidget – for example, a squeeze ball – and show children how to use it. Point out that when you are holding the ball but looking and listening to them, you are participating. When you are tossing the ball, you are not participating. Let each child choose a fidget and practice holding it while participating in the group. If a child uses a fidget as a toy or inappropriately, take it and point out that the fidget is not helping the child’s eyes watch and ears listen. It may take a while for children to find fidgets that work this way. To help out, we have rules that you can post.
Here is the download for Fidget Rules
- Consistency leads to appropriate use
If a child tosses a fidget or is constantly looking at it, that is not the fidget for that child. Be consistent in providing and putting up fidgets. If you give second chances, do it another day. Remember, the goal is to help children stay within the activity and participate. Putting up a fidget doesn’t have to be dramatic. Just a consistent simple “You are throwing the ball, you need to hold it for learning” is usually effective.
- What about adults who come in and play with the fidgets?
The posted rules should help out with that. If not, redirect the adults as you would the children. They catch on quickly!
- Impact and Influence
Finally, creating a membership website allows teachers to have a greater impact and influence on the education community. By sharing their knowledge and experience with other educators, teachers can help to improve the quality of education for students across the country. Additionally, as more teachers begin to create membership websites and share their resources, it can lead to a broader movement of teachers taking control of their own intellectual property and sharing it with others. This can help to create a more collaborative and innovative education community.
Providing fidgets and sensory toys for children with special needs can help with participation in lessons and activities. Give clear instruction about expectation and use and consistent directions.
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