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Happy Birthday to You! How to Celebrate Your Childís Special Day Appropriately

Planning a birthday party for a child with special needs can be a difficult thing to do.† Here are some great tips to keep in mind when planning so you donít overwhelm yourself or your child.† Itís all about keeping things simple and easy!

Over the past few months, a few of my clients have asked ďhow should we celebrate our childís birthday, taking into consideration his or her special needs.Ē† This is an important question on many levels, since we all want to celebrate special occasions with family; however, this can sometimes be too much for many of our children with special needs.† Here are a few ideas and strategies to use so that you can celebrate your childís birthday without making the event too overwhelming for the child and yourself!

  • Limit the guest list!† All too often, we find ourselves inviting to birthday parties family members whom we generally donít see very often.† Even though it may be uncomfortable for you not to invite them, think about how overwhelmed your child may feel if there are several people around whom he or she may not know.† If you feel the need to invite all of your family and friends, then split the party up into a couple of different occasions.† By limiting the number of guests, you can help to reduce the anxiety and fear of uncertainty that your child may be facing.
  • Keep it simple!† When we begin to plan a childís birthday, it is easy for us to get carried away with the games, food, treat bags, gifts, and many other things that go into having a birthday party.† All of these things are wonderful; but for children who have a difficult time processing information effectively, these elements of a birthday party can be overwhelming.† By simplifying things and keeping the party elements to a minimum, you can help to reduce your childís anxiety and allow him or her to enjoy the party more thoroughly.
  • Be selective when choosing a party time.† As you think about when to hold your party, keep in mind your childís best time(s) of the day.† Most children are more refreshed, relaxed, and less anxious overall in the morning after a good nightís rest.† We donít hear about parties being held in the morning that often; but for many children with special needs, this is their best time of the day.† If you are going to have the party on a week night, then be sure to hold it after the dinner hour.† This provides the child with an opportunity for some down time in between school and the party, and it allows them to have a healthy dinner to re-charge their batteries.
  • Decorate with the minimalist perspective.† Balloons, streamers, tissue paper, and many other fun decorations are often used for parties.† These types of decorations are not a problem for most individuals, but children with disabilities can become overwhelmed very easily.† When having a party, there are already many factors that will contribute to his or her feelings of anxiety, especially changes to the environment.† Keeping decorations to a minimum will help reduce the overwhelming feeling and anxiety that many children feel at parties.
  • Celebrating your childís special day can be a fun and anxiety-free experience.† By keeping the environment calm and using a minimalist perspectiveFind Article, you may find that you and your child both can enjoy the occasion.† Happy birthday party planning to you!!!!!

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    About the Author: Autism specialist Courtney Kowalczyk, of the Horizons Developmental Remediation Center, provides practical information and advice for families living with autism and other developmental disabilities.† If you are ready to reduce your stress level, enrich your childís development, and improve your familyís quality of life, get your FREE reports now at ==>

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