“Children with special needs come into our lives, leaving footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same” – Life with a side of the unexpected.
All of us in our daily lives have come across children with special needs or have heard this term. It is a broad-based term that covers a wide range of conditions. The categorization of four major types of special needs children:
1. Physical – muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, chronic asthma, epilepsy, etc.
2. Developmental – down syndrome, ASD, dyslexia, processing disorders
3. Behavioral/Emotional – ADD, bi-polar, oppositional defiance disorder, etc.
4. Sensory Impaired – Blind, visually impaired, deaf, limited hearing
Children with special needs require the love & attention of their family, their social network, and the community to thrive. At the same time, therapy is also recommended to help these children to sharpen their skills & senses, leading to fulfilling and enriching lives along life’s journey. There are many therapies available for different conditions, needs, and requirements. In this blog post, we are looking at different therapies for special needs children for your consideration:
Occupational therapy - Occupational therapy (OT) assists people with activities of daily life that they need and wish to do. They assist children on a range of developmental topics including sensory processing disorder, motor skill development, social interaction, feeding, potty training, sleep training, and much more. The occupational therapist's goal is to improve the functional ability of patients.
Music Therapy -Even if your child is not adept at speaking, they might be humming or interested in music or musical instruments. Encourage the child to hum along while you sing or try playing the instrument and compose their own tune. This activity is a great way to stimulate the senses. Some of the goals which can be achieved include making eye contact, verbal requests, conversation, singing, matching rhythms and patterns, turn-taking, and motor manipulation of musical instruments. Our very own “Symphony music care program” capitalizes on the power of music to bring wholesome benefits.
Speech therapy - Led by professional and experienced speech-language pathologists (earlier known as speech therapists), this therapy is focused on helping individuals with speech, communication, and interaction. It also incorporates the use of pictorial symbols, sign language, or computers. SLPs work in close harmony with parents/caregivers and therapists so that the individuals get the maximum benefit from using this therapy daily. In this form of therapy, non-verbal skills like eye contact, using gestures and waiting for their turn to participate in a conversation.
Arts therapy - Qualified art therapists leverage a child’s creative skills especially in the field of visual arts to hone social & motor skills, self-awareness, control conflict and minimize maladaptive behaviors. Our “bloom program” is an aim to bring fun into therapy. Some examples of such activities include painting, clay modeling, and even Lego building. Each child is unique and will take to a particular activity of their choice and it does take time to find the “right” one.
Encouragement from the families and communities, early intervention plus the right combination of therapies for an existing condition can work wonders over time. Plant a sapling, nurture it and see it bloom. This analogy is just right for children with special needs. Let us make them bloom and shine like a star.