How to Throw a Birthday Party for a Special Needs Child
Kids usually anticipate each upcoming birthday with excitement. They look forward to eating cake, hanging out with friends and doing activities they love. This is true of most children, including those with special needs.
If you have a child who is wheelchair-bound, autistic, non-verbal, or diagnosed with another mental or physical limitation, you may feel overwhelmed at the idea of throwing a birthday party. However, if you, your child and party guests work together, you can host an event that’s fun for everyone. Here are some tips to keep in mind.
Rethink Your Preconceived Notions
If your child hates lit candles and doesn’t care for the Happy Birthday song, throw out these aspects of a traditional birthday party. Cater the event to the needs and wants of your child, even if it looks less like a birthday party once you make the necessary changes.
Pick a Suitable Location
Your home may be the best place to ensure your child is comfortable and doesn’t become overwhelmed during the birthday party. Your church, library or another venue with a private party room ensures your child is only around family and friends. Consider accessibility if you have a wheelchair to account for.
Decide Who to Invite
Keep the number of guests to a manageable level (10 kids or fewer is best), and ask some parents to stay and lend a hand if needed. You might also invite your child’s school teacher to serve as another friendly face and helping hand. If your child is nonverbal, the teacher may be a useful resource for deciding who to invite from school.
Plan a Few Simple Activities
Whatever you choose to do during the party, make sure everyone you invite can participate. However, don’t force an activity on anyone. Popular options include:
- Coloring or other arts and crafts
- Red Light, Green Light
- Pin the tail on the donkey (without blindfolds, if necessary)
- Cornhole and ring toss
Decide How to Handle Gifts
As the parent of a special needs child, you probably know better than anyone how your child will handle the concept of opening gifts in front of a crowd. If you anticipate it being a negative experience, wait until later to unwrap presents. Just remember to send thank you cards.
Think About Party Favors
Birthday party etiquette states that you should hand out goody bags to guests before they leave. Make sure every child you invite can enjoy the favors you provide. Some ideas include candy, popcorn, soda, paper crowns, plastic jewelry, stickers, Play-Doh and knick-knacks that correspond with the party’s theme.
If you’re looking for a spacious venue to host a birthday party for your special needs child, BounceU can help. We make hosting events easy with packages and add-ons to suit your needs. If you’re interested, we can include invitations, food and drinks, activities, party favors, and more. To book your party, please contact BounceU in Farmingdale today!