Every child with special needs need extra attention from Special Education Needs (SEN) teachers compare to other general students for better growth in their academics and in their personal life as well.

In special need classes, one of the best times to teach important skills like manners, motor skills or social interaction skills is during the lunch break. Those teachers who have pursued courses like special education courses, knows it really well.

Moreover, many special need teachers may have doubts like- Which skills they should teach to their special needs students? What strategies they can use to teach those skills effectively?

If you have all these doubts on your mind then no need to worry, in this blog post you will get to know all the answers of the above-mentioned questions in details and it also equip you to support children with special needs in more effective manner for their overall growth.

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So, without any further delay, let’s get started.

Why Teaching Skills During Lunch To Special Need Students Is Beneficial?

Lunch-break time is a prime opportunity to teach essential skills for several reasons. Like-

  • It is a daily routine that all students participate in, providing consistent opportunities for practice and becoming better at it.
  • The lunchroom setting allows for social interactions and the development of important social skills.
  • Teaching skills during lunch can promote independence and empower students to take ownership of their own needs and actions.

Essential Skills to Teach Special Need Students During Lunch

Although the specific skills to teach may differ based on individual student needs, there are foundational skills that are valuable for all students in a special education classroom. These skills include:

1. Asking for Help

Encouraging students to seek assistance when faced with challenges such as opening containers or cleaning up spills.

2. Opening Containers

Assisting students in developing motor skills by teaching them how to independently open containers like lunch boxes, milk cartons or snack packages.

3. Use of Utensils

Guiding students, on using utensils, which will foster self-feeding abilities within every special need students.

4. Waiting In Lunch Line

Most of the schools serves lunch to students, educating students on the etiquette and steps involved in going through the lunch line, such, as patiently waiting their turn and adhering to instructions.

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5. Holding the Tray or Lunch Boxes

Helping students enhance their motor skills and coordination by instructing them on how to carry their trays and lunch boxes.

6. Sitting Posture

Teaching students the importance of sitting in their seats properly for promoting good posture and space awareness within the bench.

7. Socializing with Friends

Engaging in conversations with friends at the lunch table encouraging social interactions and conversation skills among students.

8. Keeping Hands to Self

Emphasizing boundaries and personal space by teaching students to keep their hands to themselves during meal-time is an essential skill which every specially-abled students should learn.

It's essential to consider that these examples represent a few of the skills that can be taught during lunchtime. When planning the curriculum it's necessary to take into account each students needs and goals.

Effective Strategies for Teaching Skills To Special Need Students During Lunch

To ensure acquisition of lunch-break time skills various strategies can be employed. Here are some effective approaches to consider;

1. Demonstrate

Demonstrate desired behaviour by showing students how to initiate conversations ask for help or open containers. This provides an example for students to follow.

2. Visual-Aids

You can utilize visual aids such as visual schedules, picture cards or visual sentence strips to support students understanding and execution of lunchtime skills. Breaking down steps visually provides guidance, for students.

3. Role Play

Engage students in role-playing scenarios where they can practice the targeted lunchtime skills in a safe and supportive environment. This allows them to gain confidence and familiarity with the desired behaviours.

4. Repetition

Practice and repeating are crucial when it comes to honing any skills. It's important to offer students chances to practice tasks such, as opening containers or carrying trays gradually allowing them more independence and introducing more complex challenges along the way.

However, remember that every student is unique, and different strategies may work better for some than others. It is important to adapt and modify approaches based on individual student needs and preferences.

Utilize Lunch Time By Teaching Important Skills To Special Need Students

Every child is special in their own way and has different abilities. In the case of children with special needs they has different needs compare to general students in classroom and it’s Special Education Needs (SEN) teachers responsibility to understand them and support those students to thrive in their life.

Skill related to social interactions, life skills or motor skills is very important for special need students to learn and one of the best time to help special needs students to learn essential skills is lunch-break time. Teachers those who have pursued courses like special education courses, knows what skills and how they can teach those skills effectively during the lunch-break in a fun and interactive way.

However, in this blog post, we have mentioned various different skills to teach and how to figure out what skills should every special need students must learn as well. By utilizing all the above-mentioned ways of teaching essential skills to special needs students during lunch-break time, teachers can create a nurturing and inclusive environment that promotes growth and empowers students to succeed in various aspects of their lives.

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Written By : Abhishek