We went to our "SNAP" activity last night. (Special Needs Activity Program) A visiting congregation planned the activities for the night. As a thank you to the visiting ward, the special needs friends and youth councillors all sang a song for the visiting ward. (I am a child of God) They had prepared four different stations for the evening's activities.
The first station was a dance room. They had disco lights, and music playing. The youth from the visiting ward led the special needs friends in several dances like: the macarena, the hokey pokey, etc. These special needs people love to dance!
The second station was a puppet show. This is actually a bummer in a way because I'm in charge of the activity next week, and I have planned for them to do puppet shows. Oh well, I'm sure they will still enjoy it. They had children's books and had one person read the story while the others used the puppets to act it out. Next week I'm going to have them (with the help of the youth councillors) write a script and perform it.
The third station was a human bowling activity. The youth had set up "lanes" using folding chairs. They also had two rows of chairs facing each other so they could use it for a "ball return". Then the visiting youth stood at the end of the lane in bowling pin formation. The special needs participant would roll a large beach ball. When it hit one of the human "bowling pins", the pins would fall and topple, much to the delight of the special needs bowler. :)
The fourth station was a craft. This was a little messy. They were to put some rice in a plastic easter egg (rice got everywhere!) and then tape it up. Then they taped two plastic spoons cupping the egg. Then they were allowed to use some permanent markers to decorate the "maraca" they had made. At one point, I asked my husband to turn on some music on his phone so that they could shake the maracas in time with the music. Then one of the youth councillors said he had some latino music that would be better. It was a latino sounding arrangement of the "Jungle Book" song, "I Wanna be like you". The special needs friends LOVED it! They were moving and grooving to that song!
Lastly the visiting ward had refreshments prepared: nachos, watermelon, grapes, and cookies. As my husband always says, "Good food for a good mood." I sure enjoyed it!
There was one bright spot for the night for me. There is a young man with Aspergers syndrome who comes every week. He doesn't know he is special needs. His parents are some of the adult leaders, so he comes with them, and assumes that he is one of the youth councillors. His parents have asked us to try to have a conversation with him because he is working on socializing. He volunteers at the zoo, so I asked him about his job. I was surprised that he talked with me for as long as he did! It's really good for him to interact with others. He is highly intelligent, but just doesn't have social skills.
One other special needs friend is autistic. He loves Disney princesses and Star Wars, and will talk your ear off about those. Every week he brings some papers with him that are print outs of star wars pictures. These papers of his were getting wrinkled and worn over the weeks. Last night I took him a plastic folder with clear plastic sheet holders inside. I helped him put his pictures in the sheets. I couldn't tell how he felt about that. We will see next week if he brings the folder, or if he brings the sheets alone. :)