April works full time in higher education balancing her time between her special needs son, handsome husband, elderly mother, and new baby coming in May 2014. She has a background in theatre, film, and television but somehow stumbled into the educational field. She loves spending time with her family, dreaming of the beach and organizing her house.

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New Year’s Resolution Activities for Special Needs Kids

There are many ways to get your child involved in New Year’s resolutions and activities.  Depending upon their abilities and age, you can involve them in their own and help them take ownership for how they feel and what they want to accomplish.  Here are some activities that will help your child feel like they are starting over with the new year.

1)  Keep a joy journal.  Depending upon your child, they can keep it on a daily or weekly basis.  If they can write, they can note the days they were happy/joyful and why.  If they rely on you, you can be their scribe and if they can’t communicate well, a happy face and a picture works too.  Each month look over the journal with them and talk to them about the times they were happy.  At the end of the year, you will have a collection of happy memories that all of you can cherish and remember.

2) If your child is older and uses the computer, they can do a picture a day. There are many different projects that inspire people to do something everyday, but a picture is a “thousand words” and in a life of a child it can help explain how they are feeling.  You and your child can post them or create your own album, it’s entirely up to you.

3) You can sit down with your child and ask them what they would like to do or accomplish this year.  For some kids it is very basic like being able to ride my bike without training wheels.  Other children have more extensive lists of what they want to accomplish.  If they have special needs, they can still let you know what it is they want to do this year.  It’s important for them to have a voice in their lives and giving them a chance to decide how they want their year to look like is a huge accomplishment.

4)  Create a family history book for the new year.  Each family member can contribute a story or something that the family did.  Each month go over what was written in the book and add any missing details.  At the end of the year, your family will have a history of what you did together.  Make time to sit down in December or early January to go over what you did and reminisce about the events.  It’s a great way to keep the family history alive.

5) If you haven’t gone through their toys before the holidays, this is a perfect time to organize their room or playroom.  Have them help you pick out the toys that can be donated or sold.  It gives them a chance to decide what to do with their own stuff.  When kids aren’t given the opportunity to make decisions, even small ones, they begin to feel helpless and that is when they latch onto something that they can control in their life.

6) Create a visible reminder for your child so they can view it all year.  Crafts are a great way to aid visibility and it gives you additional time with your child that they will cherish.  Magnets, charts, calendars, or even picture graphs are great ways to visually show your child their resolutions for the year.

There are many more ways you can involve them in the resolution process, but this is a great start to helping your children understand that they can be intentional in their lives even with disabilities.

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