As we enter the last week of October, Halloween is approaching us quickly. I have always found Halloween to be a fun holiday, one that calls for scary costumes and delicious candy. However, I spent more than 20 years as a special education teacher & supervisor and understand that for students with varying needs, the days in school leading up to Halloween can be challenging.
Due to the costumes, parties, scary sights, and loud sounds, some students with varying needs—particularly those with sensory disorders—have a difficult time being in an overstimulating environment. By the time adolescents reach middle school and high school, most have adapted to Halloween in their own way. Some may even come to love it! But, for those students with varying needs who do not love Halloween, I have always found that it was helpful for me to pay closer attention to them this week.
I would ask them questions, monitor their behavior, and notice if they seemed to be more anxious or stressed during Halloween week. I would also use this holiday as a time to focus on teaching them critical life and social skills. The Halloween holiday presents many opportunities for special educators to teach their students about appropriate physical boundaries, relationships, and what to wear. In fact, one of the video lessons our Healthy Relationships Curriculum program provides is teaching students what clothes to wear for various occasions. I always loved teaching this lesson and contrasting it with the Halloween holiday, so students could understand the difference between what they should wear on a typical day versus what they might dress up as for Halloween.
If you have not heard of the Healthy Relationships Curriculum yet, it is a comprehensive program designed for special educators by special educators. The program covers topics like dating, how to stay safe on social media, navigating cyberbullying, and how to complete household chores—among many other relevant and timely topics. If you are working with students with varying needs who are on the autism spectrum, have a developmental and intellectual disability, or navigating an emotional challenge, the Healthy Relationships Curriculum is an essential resource that you will want in your classroom.
When you purchase the program, you receive more than 140 videos, lesson plans, role-playing and demonstrations, and an online portal that allows you to teach these concepts more concretely to those students and clients we work with on a daily basis. Because our team has spent decades teaching and working with students with various needs, we have been in your position and are poised to answer any questions you might have.
Until next time, stay safe and have a Happy Halloween!