All children are indeed unique in their own way. No two are born equal, whether it’s about how open they are or even how quiet they choose to be. As a parent, it’s understandable that you might feel a little more concerned if your child is diagnosed with special needs. However, you must understand that he/she is no different from others except in the way you care for them. If you are considering therapies to help your child, it is a good idea to go for recreational ones as compared to the closed-door sessions. Wondering why? Well, recreational therapies are particularly helpful for ensuring that a child with special needs is active, healthy and as independent as possible.
Engaging in recreation linked therapy makes it easier to manage the child since these therapies promote wellness and reduce stress greatly for both of you. By virtue of design itself, they promote community integration through fun activities while managing their behavior at the same time. They also specifically help children with special needs coordinate their senses better and aid in gaining more confidence in the process.
Here are 7 different types of recreational therapies you can try out to help your child with special needs -
Swimming is one of the best recreational therapies that you can confidently pick for your child. Swimming is a vigorous yet low-impact workout which helps the child to develop strong sensory integration. You might feel apprehensive on safety grounds before actually enrolling your child in swimming. However, adaptive swimming makes it a point to put great emphasis on your child’s safety while ensuring that your child has a fun-filled time splashing through the water. Prior to enrollment in these swimming lessons, all you need to do is ensure that the pool is equipped with a wheelchair life and has a zero-depth entrance facility.
If your child seems to be outgoing, bubbling with energy, horseback riding is one of the recreational therapies you must consider. The act of learning horse riding challenges a child’s muscles, provides vestibular and tactile sensory input and also increases the child’s awareness on environmental and social cues. The riding instructions from an expert rider/therapist have specific goals that help in achieving such outcomes. One of these is also to develop and nurture the relationship between the child and the horse.
As the parent of a child with special needs, you might have noticed a distinct creative instinct in your child. You might find it hard though to nurture this at times. However, art therapy makes this quite simple and also fun for your child. Essentially, art as a form of therapy is conducted under the supervision of a trained mental health professional who is committed to cultivate your child’s innate creativity and allow it to grow. Additionally, practicing visual arts is also a great option to develop your child’s social skills and increase self-awareness. This therapy equips him/her with the potential to manage behavior and emotional conflicts.
Music has an incredible impact on calming down almost everyone’s mind. Your child with special needs too is no different. In fact, especially for their condition, music might turn out to be one of the best motivators. It’s been popularly observed that children with special needs react in an extremely positive way to music therapies, making them a pertinent choice in terms of recreation. Music soothes the child’s soul while engaging their mind completely. If you’re thinking that therapeutic music sessions are only about making your child listen to sounds, well, it’s not. The therapy also involves other activities like rhythmic turn-taking, vocalization and motor manipulation. All these cumulatively go a long way towards improving speech, cognitive and social skills of your child.
Like music therapy, dance therapy too is considered to be a great and effective way of providing the much-needed recreation to your child. Dancing to the rhythms encourages sensory integration and promotes muscle coordination. Both music and dance therapy have a similar effect on the child. All you need to do is simply figure out which one appears to be more fun and healing for your little one.
This one is undoubtedly one of the most popular recreational therapies opted for children with special needs by parents all over. It is popularly referred to as Eco-therapy in the UK and the Forest Therapy in Japan. Nature therapy involves walking and talking in the woods amidst nature. Embracing nature has been clinically proven to reduce stress levels, improve immune functions and enhance relaxation for your child.
Children love animals and surprisingly resonate with them extremely well too. With pet therapy, a child learns to love and care for a pet, which is indeed an incredible way to develop life, social and memory skills. As a recreational therapy, pet or animal therapy involves home visits from a certified therapy dog with a trained volunteer handler.
Each therapy session is tailored to suit the unique needs of your child. While your child might not enjoy engaging in all of these activities simultaneously, he/she is definitely going to enjoy at least some of them. As a parent, you can easily figure out which activity aligns best with the mindset of your child and help them experience enjoyment and growth at the same time.
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