Fall weather is finally here and that means a lot more time outdoors to enjoy all of the wonderful fall activities that the Annapolis area has to offer – I’m looking at you, pumpkin patches and corn mazes! I love that Maryland’s fall weather lasts so long because that means many opportunities to enjoy these activities.
Here are my top 5 tips for ways to help your child with special needs enjoy these activities:
- Read stories. Stories that incorporate fall activities can help your child understand what they are going to see and do while you are there. Some great options include: It’s Pumpkin Time, The Itsy Bitsy Pumpkin, and Pumpkin Countdown.
- Use a picture schedule. Picture schedules can help your child know what to expect and to help them transition more easily when in familiar and unfamiliar situations.
- Go to the same place multiple times. By providing exposure to the same activity on many occasions, your child will develop familiarity with the activity and the language related to the activity. For example, if you go to a pumpkin patch multiple times this season, you can work on understanding and expression of vocabulary such as basic concepts (e.g., big/little, bumpy/smooth, colors, in/out), nouns (e.g., pumpkin, tractor, vine, hay/straw), verbs (e.g., go, pick, carry), and pronouns (e.g., I, me, mine, you, yours).
- Follow your child’s lead. By following your child’s lead, you have increased opportunities to model language that matches what your child is interested in, which means they are going to be more tuned in to what you are saying.
- Have fun. This might be the most important tip! Have fun with your child, view the experience through their eyes, and take your time with each activity this season.
Do you need more help to support your child with special needs? Give us a call at 410-274-0041!
Shanna Klump is a speech-language pathologist and CEO of Kid Connections Therapy, a speech/language therapy clinic in Severna Park, Maryland.