5 Tips for welcoming special needs kids at your event

5 Tips For Welcoming Special Needs Kids To Your Party

We started school in September and that means the birthday party invites have started!

When Sharon sent me a message about guest posting about this subject, I jumped at the chance because honestly, I don’t have a lot of experience dealing with special needs children outside of hearing impairments so I don’t feel qualified to talk about the subject or offer useful advice. However, making sure special needs children feel included is essential and I have heard the horrible stories of plenty of kids being left out from their classmate’s functions and as a parent, it’s heartbreaking to see your child be excluded based on who they are. Honestly, I think the main reason for this is parents don’t know how to accommodate special needs kids better and therefore try to avoid the situation altogether.

This is where Sharon from Love Lucia’s Parties comes in, she shares her tips to make your party more welcoming for those with special needs so that everyone is included and has a great time!

Sharon and daughter Lucia

A Bit About Sharon

Sharon and Lucia from Love Lucia’s Parties have worked with countless clients with special needs requirements; from partially sighted and registered blind children, young adults with severe learning difficulties to terminally ill children to name a few. We believe the key to ensuring that the party is a success, is communication. Investing time with the party hosts to fully understand the needs of everyone involved is paramount, it provides confidence that all factors are covered on your special day, which will enable everyone to relax and enjoy the party.

*Guest Post*

Throwing a party is a stressful event even if you are a pro at it. But, the efforts are completely worth it, if it becomes a success and everyone enjoys the gathering. One of the challenges of a party is to make sure that everybody is welcome including kids with special needs. For a successful party to be hosted, here are a couple of pointers we feel are important.

Invite Everyone

Perhaps, the worst emotion that a child can feel is rejection, by social exclusion to a classmate’s birthday party because of special needs. However, bear in mind that it’s not the kids who make the final list of invitees. Mums or Dads are ultimately responsible for inviting guests to the shindig so do a favour to fellow parents and welcome everyone including friends with special needs kids.

Reach Out to the Parent

Simply guessing what the disabilities and capabilities are of your young guest is never a good idea.  Talk to the parent when they confirm the invitation to find out the special needs of the child. They might be in a wheelchair, so if your house has many steps, perhaps it is better to host the party in the garden or on the ground floor where everyone has easy access to the venue.

Ask a Parent to Volunteer

It is always handy to have an extra pair of hands during a party, especially if you have many young guests who can easily get into trouble. The parents of a special needs child might be wary of letting their kid go to a party knowing that they could easily experience a meltdown. Why not invite them to help you out? They will probably be more at ease if they keep their kids within reach and watch. It is a win-win situation, but if they refuse, do not be offended.

Accommodate the Kid (s) with Special Needs

If they do accept the invitation, make sure to ask the parents if there are special dietary requirements such as allergies and the like. If you have a young guest who communicates in sign language, you can hire an interpreter for the duration of the party. You can even book a party planner who has experience in preparing parties for special needs kids.

Designate a Quiet Place for Special Needs Guests

Sometimes, parties can become a sensory overload for any child. This is even more evident in children with sensory processing disorders. They might respond in an extreme manner to noises or high-pitched voices or loud sounds. Kids with these disorders are also afraid of being touched or hugged. When symptoms manifest, it can help to have a quiet room where they can relax and be quiet. You can put on quiet music in the background to assist children in unwinding. If the party gets rowdy with children’s play, make sure you have headphones in the room to block out the noise for the child. Keep a box of crayons, paints or colours handy, as well as pencils and blank papers so your guests can indulge in some art, drawing or colouring therapy.

It is also important and encouraged to talk to your own kids and mention that you will have special needs guests attending the party. Explain to them what it is all about and how important it is to respect others who may be a little different than them. Tell other parents as well so that they, in turn, can prepare their own children. What matters is everyone should have a good time and not feel miserable or upset, simply because a party is a celebration.

Where Can You Find More Of Sharon and Lucia

Blog | Website | Instagram

Once you start school it's basically party central. This guest post gives you tips to help you make special needs kids feel included and have a good time.

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Written by Charlotte

Founder at The Mummy Toolbox

22 Comments

  • Sara (#)
    April 1st, 2017

    These are great suggestions. It’s good to be aware and inclusive of all kids

  • CourtneyLynne (#)
    April 1st, 2017

    I love this!!! My daughter is high functioning autistic so I’m all about inclusion for everything!

  • Jessica | Salt & Life Blog (#)
    March 31st, 2017

    I have a few friends with children close to my daughter’s age who have various degrees of disability, and I’m always so thankful for the way they are so willing to open up about the needs of their children because their hearts are geared toward making those babes feel loved! And they should! Thanks for sharing this — it’s a great jumping off point for how we can make sure we’re caring for the needs of others!

  • Heather (#)
    March 31st, 2017

    These are great ideas! We haven’t had any experience with this as of yet, but I know it will be on the horizon soon!

  • Jalisa Harris (#)
    March 30th, 2017

    I love this post. As a mom with a child who suffers from a disability this post is great. No one really knows how to react when you know there will be a special needs kid at a party you are having.

  • Angela (#)
    March 30th, 2017

    What a beautiful and considerate thing to do! My child is not in school yet but I love all your suggestions and I’ll make sure to put them to practice once she’s ready for birthday parties

  • Heather (#)
    March 29th, 2017

    These are great tips and I love your suggestion to ask parents to volunteer!

  • Blythe (#)
    March 29th, 2017

    These are such great tips. I’ve seen too many stories online about how kids with special needs don’t receive party invites or no one shows up to their party. Disabilities are not something to be afraid of. It only takes a little bit of extra effort to make the necessary accommodations to include a child in a celebration.

  • OvenStruck (#)
    March 29th, 2017

    This is a great list of tips! Communication is always key and inviting the parent to help instead of saying “you can stay if you want” is BRILLIANT! So much nicer and a beautiful way to welcome everyone.

  • Jeanine (#)
    March 29th, 2017

    This is SO needed .This is really great. We don’t do parties but I’m thinking about changing that and have always wondered how to make sure we include everyone. This is great info!

  • Amanda Love (#)
    March 29th, 2017

    This is really perfect. It’s something that people rarely discuss but it’s really going to help. I really appreciate all of your tips.

  • Anna nuttall (#)
    March 29th, 2017

    I love this post! I used to work with special needs children and there so many differnet levels – people shouldn’t brushed all the same tar. Beautiful photos. xx

  • Amanda Rosson (#)
    March 29th, 2017

    This is so wonderful, thank you for the great tips and for bringing awareness to this topic! I’m not a parent but I hope I can be this thoughtful and considerate! I love the idea of having a special designated quiet place and asking the parents to help out. I think it’s so important to make sure ALL the kids at a party are having the best time and having their needs met.

  • Tereza (#)
    March 29th, 2017

    These are great tips. My parents used to run country camps for kids with special needs and it was super tough on me as I was only 5 years old at the time. I’ve learnt a lot from that experience and since and totally agree with your tips x

  • Journa Ramirez (#)
    March 29th, 2017

    You are right, everyone should have fun at the party. Others don’t really know how to welcome them and these tips are really helpful! I should remember these!

  • Karina (#)
    March 29th, 2017

    Great tips! I think thoughtfulness is the most important thing & not ignoring the reality in front of us when we’re in this situation. Every child is different and some have to be accommodated more extensively and there is nothing wrong with that… we just have to ask parents how we can make it happen. And make it happen. No kid should be left out for situations beyond their control. Thank you for sharing!

  • Lynn (#)
    March 29th, 2017

    I love this post! I’ve never thought about setting a quiet place for special needs kids during a party. I think it is important to invite everyone too and teach children to be inclusive of other different than themselves. Great, great post!

  • Reesa Lewandowski (#)
    March 29th, 2017

    This is truly so thoughtful! My kids don’t really understand what it means for someone to be special needs, they just see them as a friend.

  • Terri (#)
    March 28th, 2017

    Such great tips. It used to break my heart when parents with special needs kids would tell me that their kid was never invited to parties. A little education goes a long way! Thank you!

  • Marcie (#)
    March 28th, 2017

    Great tips! I wouldn’t have thought of making sure there was a quiet spot, but now that seems super important!

  • Angela Tolsma (#)
    March 28th, 2017

    I love that you included have a quite space. These tips are so important. It is so easy to get overwhelmed when invited out, but that shouldn’t stop one from being invited!

  • robin Rue (#)
    March 28th, 2017

    There are so many different levels of special needs and like you said, it is important for everyone to be included. Loved all your tips.

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