What You Need to Know About Volunteering with Special Needs Children
Volunteering can be rewarding as well as challenging. While some volunteering opportunities offer experience abroad, learning about foreign cultures, and promising adventures, others can be more challenging. One such experience is volunteering with special needs children. While volunteering with children is usually associated with fun and laughter, special needs children require an extra bit of love, patience, and care.
What to keep in mind when volunteering with special needs children
Children with special needs usually face struggles in different aspects including physical, emotional, behavioural, and have learning disabilities. Such children tend to be more vulnerable and require more patience, care, empathy, and understanding. Sadly, according to WHO statistics children with disabilities are 4 times more likely to encounter outbursts of violence compared to those without disabilities.
Who can volunteer to work with special needs children
When volunteering with special needs children, keep in mind that it requires more than just willingness to help. Some of the skills you need to possess include, but are not limited to this list, include:
- be able to adapt easily
- possess good communication skills
- be great with kids
- have imagination, creativity, and patience
- the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- have a non-judgmental approach
Don’t forget that children with special needs are usually more vulnerable and sensitive. It’s extremely important to approach them with extra care and patience to encourage them to trust you.
How you can help children with disabilities
You can help children with special needs in different ways. Some of those include, but are not limited to:
- Restoring mental health
By devoting your time and engaging with children with special needs, playing games, being a good listener, and showing empathy you can help restore the child’s mental health. Showing that you care and being patient encourages children to open up and gain confidence.
Some children with special needs struggle with learning and grasping simple things. You can help them learn through educational games and activities, as well as important skills.
- Counseling and guiding
Teenagers need guidance in finding their way through adult life. This includes discovering the right career path, building self-confidence, and becoming independent. Children with special needs find this even more difficult and that’s where volunteering can greatly help them.
Why get involved in volunteering
Volunteering, overall, is a rewarding activity. It’s even more rewarding when you’re helping one of the most vulnerable — children with special needs. Teens and youth joining such programs can fulfill their school’s community service requirements while creating a meaningful bond with less fortunate children. Volunteering with special needs children is an eye-opener and gives a better understanding of children out there with special needs and disabilities. While giving back to the community, through interaction children will learn to accept their differences, learn to be patient, tolerant, and accepting. Starting at an earlier age, teens exposed to interacting with special needs children tend to be more open-minded and tolerant when they grow up.
Where can you volunteer
Some organisations offer volunteering experience abroad working alongside local volunteering organisations and non-profits. Some even offer volunteers with housing and food expenses covered. Volunteering at such an organisation you can sign up for opportunities across the world in South America, Asia, or Africa.
1Hour helps pair volunteers with different institutions across the UK. You’ll find different opportunities based on your skills and where you’re located. Follow us and stay up-to-date with opportunities you can sign up for.