Often parents of children with special needs are worried and fearful about the ability of their child to succeed in extra-curricular activities such as sports, boy scouts, dance, art class, etc. Parents often fear the worst and are afraid of how the child will behave or act in such circumstances. I would recommend that parents utilize several tips in order to help ensure success with each out-of-school activity, as these activities have many proven benefits for a child’s self-esteem.
Tips for Working with Coaches to Ensure Success for Children with Special Needs in Extra-Curricular Activities:
1. Be frank with the coach or director of the activity. Inform him or her about the child’s concerns. These are often individuals who volunteer to help children and more times than naught have the child’s best interest in mind.
2. Let the individual know what types of behaviors the child has exhibited in the past. What happened in school when parents were away, etc?
3. Create a list of accommodations that have proven to be beneficial for the child. Let the coach or instructor in on some of the modifications that have been helpful in the academic setting, as he may be able to apply the modification to the activity setting.
4. Be present, or within immediate reach, for the first few sessions.
5. Have the child go and see the building and room will the activity will occur. If possible, meet the instructor to form a relationship in advance.
Ultimately the main goal of after school activities is to increase socialization while teaching a skill, activity, or sport. The above tips should help provide some strategies to ensure the maximum success for children who have special needs in such situations.