Tools for Educating Special Needs Families – The Scenic Route: Part 2

by Mary Ann on February 6, 2012

Families with special needs can love the journey

Families with special needs can love the journey

This is part 2 of a two part series on Leadership Education for Special Needs Families (part one)

Tools for Educating a Special Needs Family

In reference to our learning experiences, we have called our educational tool, The  Spark Station, the “Joy Cabinet.”  We have learned some wonderful techniques from the children’s therapists which provide calming input and allow them to focus on learning.  We like to put sensory based activities in our Joy Cabinet such as sand paper for putting under a piece of paper and writing their name over the top, or rice to trace letters or numbers in, or using milk caps to learn counting and patterns.

We use things like weighted compression vests, Chewie Tubes,  weighted pencils and fidget toys to help our children stop focusing on their sensory issues and start focusing on listening to the story, coloring a picture or participating in some other activity we might do together.

We have found colored transparencies to be very beneficial to our oldest son who has dyslexia.  Certain colors laid over the top of his words help the letters to stop trading places, flipping or disappearing, and he’s slowly learning to read.

Memorization activities are particularly fun for our special needs family, in particular, our youngest son who has an uncanny ability to memorize things he hears or sees.  Nature walks are very joyful for our family and we like to collect specimens of plants, rocks, trees, or flowers, and bring them home and draw pictures of them in our sketch books.  The children also like to learn adult skills like baking, cold meal preparation, sewing or planting pumpkin seeds and watching them grow. We have tailored our learning experiences to be all about joy!

Educating Special Needs Families is about Creation

One of my favorite sayings is “Plant your feet and bloom where you are planted.”  I am not sure who said it but I learned it as a youth, at church, and it has always stuck with me.  I believe that this statement has great application to our lives, particularly those of us who have special needs kids.  I have used this statement before to illustrate the point that we are the experts in our own homes and families and that Leadership Education is not about checking out your neighbors  back yard, but about creating your own back yard, to look like no other back yard in the world.  But I believe this statement also has an application relative to the world of special needs families.

We have multiple children who have multiple special needs which means that life is constantly changing for us.  This means that we often find ourselves standing on new ground.  So…we plant our feet, bloom in the fertile soil of that particular season of life for a while, until that season is over and we find ourselves on a new plot of land.  It’s all about attitude and enduring to the end.  It’s so important to speak with the Master Gardener about our children!  He knows what they can become and how best to inspire greatness within them.  I know that He can provide every resource necessary for their proper growth and survival.  Whenever I feel myself start to worry about what they know and don’t know, I ask Him to remind me of His plans and purpose for them.


I have often said that the path to attaining a Leadership Education twists and turns differently for each family.  We are all headed to the same destination but for special needs families we get to take a more scenic route to get there!   In the end we will reach our potentials and help our families to reach theirs. We will attain our Leadership Educations and fulfill our missions, and while we are at it, we just might become experts in the field of Changing Seasons and Soil Exploration…if there is such a thing. :0)

The writer of this post desires to remain anonymous for the protection of her families privacy. She and her husband have been married for over fifteen years and have six children, many of whom have special needs that vary from nut Allergies, Asthma, Anxiety and Dyslexia to Cerebral Palsy, Autism, a Congenital Heart Defect and Genetic Disorders, (to name a few.)  They homeschool and are grateful for the opportunity to meet each of their children’s needs in unique and inspired ways.   As a family, they all know that they each have a personal and inspired mission to fulfill, and they enjoy discussions with their children, about the important work they were sent here to do!o!


If you want to really excite your kids and bring a sense of anticipation to your educational environment then The Spark Station Mastery Course may be just what you need.

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