Sunday, March 03, 2013

Differentiating for Special Needs

I've mentioned before that I've got 2 little sweeties in my room who have special needs. Both are intellectually impaired with one also having global development delay. His development in all areas is around that of a 2 - 2.5 year old. Obviously, everything we do has to be modified for both of them. I thought I'd start sharing some of the things they're doing in class in case you are looking for ideas for your own class. I'm also on the lookout for new activities, so please share! 

Today, I'm going to share some staples that we use almost every day. 

Bowls, beads and teddy counters. We use these for colour naming, sorting, matching etc. When naming colours, we also use non-verbal gestures (e.g. red is touching the chin). We use the beads for threading to develop our fine motor skills. We also use the bear counts for counting.

Here are some more things I've bought to develop their fine motor control. The smaller tweezers can be held with the pointer and thumb (like a pencil) to pick up poms, cotton balls or any other small manipulative. These are a little hard for my two to use at the moment though. The bigger animal tweezers are a little easier. We use the tweezers to move the manipulative from one spot to another and to drop into numbered cups to help with counting  (this is mostly done verbally since number recognition isn't there yet). We also attach pegs to the black tub and to the numbered cups for counting.

The sand trays are used for hiding pictures and objects in (so far this year we are learning the letter s and m) and for letter writing with our fingers. 

What do you do with kids who need to develop basic skills and concepts? I hope to share more of what we are doing soon.


  1. Great post Kylie. You certainly look like you have a handle on catering for these kiddies :)

  2. Love your ideas, Kylie. I'm going to add them to my bank of fine motor activities for my little ones!

    Miss Galvin Learns

    1. Thanks Step! If you have any other ideas, please send them my way!

  3. Wow... what a complex class you have. It's really tricky to cater for such a wide range of abilities... looks like you are doing a fantastic job though :) Do you get much in-class support for your two?

    I love the tweezers, I've been looking for something like that for my class, can I ask where you got them from?

    One thing that I find all kids love, and is great for kids with special needs is the oldie but goodies, play dough. Not fun for me to make (I always get a dead arm!) but the kids love it!

    You could have play dough and some googly eyes and pipe cleaners and ask your students to make a play dough creature with 3 eyes and 6 legs (pipe cleaners) etc to develop number sense. I use playdough mats as well, I have some for making the numeral, putting in a ten frame and making the amount (apples, cakes etc) that I'm happy to email if you'd like (not sure if it'd be too advanced though?)

    For positional language and following steps, things like setting a table and putting play food in the plate in specific places/order is fun as well.

    I haven't used them, but I know our JP special class teacher uses sensory boards with their class - they're very successful!

    I'm not sure if these ideas help much but thought I'd share :)


    Early Years Fun

    1. Hi Jess, I do get a bit of support, about an hour and 45 mintues per day. It has been a juggling act trying to work out what is best to do when I have no in class support for them since they require so much help and support.

      I got the tweezers from Skill Builders - it's an Aussie site. I think they were only about $3 each, so well worth the investment.

      LOL, it's funny that you mentioned play-doh. I tried that the first week (and plenty of times since) and they actually find it very hard to work with - they can't roll it or anything. I thought it would be a good activity for them to do independently when I'm working with other kids but all they do is EAT the play-doh! They just won't stop! So play-doh is definitely a supervised activity! :)

      I really love your positional language idea, thanks for sharing! I'll definitely use that idea!

  4. I love your sand box - I've been meaning to get some for my classroom as well so this is a good reminder. I feel like I really need to do some more fine motor activities with my kiddies so this is a super helpful post for me! I pinned an awesome webpage on Pinterest with LOTS of fine motor activities - there might be something helpful in there for you:

    We did a very time consuming activity in the first week - the kids ripped up tiny pieces of coloured paper and glued the tiny pieces to the letters in their name. The final product was beautiful but it took the kids FOREVER!

    Lifelong Learners in Prep

    1. Hi Casey, I saw your names on your blog, they did look AWESOME, thanks for sharing that idea and for the blog link. I'll go and check it out!


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