So much learning happens through play. Play can help children practice language, motor skills, problem-solving skills and social skills. Many of our libraries may already include free play as part of our storytime programs for young children to support this growth. We may not realize it, though, but there are many barriers to play that exist for children with special needs. Some of the kids in our communities may not be equipped with the skills to play without accommodations or support. So it’s important that we develop strategies to be inclusive and enable access to play for all.
Coming up with accessible and inclusive play-based activities and games for storytime programs can be a challenge if you do not have a background in occupational therapy or special education. Thankfully, there are a variety of up to date and valuable resources at our disposal to help us learn about inclusive play-based programs. Check out this professional literature–or interlibrary loan it from your nearest library–to learn more!
Early Intervention Games: Fun, Joyful Ways to Develop Social and Motor Skills in Children with Autism Spectrum or Sensory Processing Disorders by Barbara Sher
Including Families of Children with Special Needs by Carrie Banks
Social Skills Activities for Special Children by Darlene Mannix
The Out-of-Sync Child Has Fun, Revised Edition: Activities for Kids with Sensory Processing Disorder by Carol Kranowitz
Playing, Laughing, and Learning with Children on the Autism Spectrum: A Practical Resource of Play Ideas for Parents and Carers by Julia Moor
Inclusive Play: Practical Strategies for Children from Birth to Eight by Theresa Casey
101 Games and Activities for Children with Autism, Asperger’s and Sensory Processing Disorders by Tara Delaney
Renee Grassi, LSSPCC Committee Member