Journal writing has many benefits for children with special needs. It gives them a place to express feelings and validate them in print. It gives them practice in writing sentences and paragraphs in a low-pressure, non-judgmental venue. It takes a snapshot of language development levels they can look back on and feel proud of their progress. And the discipline and structure that comes with writing every day can pay benefits in other areas as well. While any blank book will do, Journal Buddies
offers a great template you can use to teach your child what sort of things she should think about writing. It also boosts self-esteem by inviting your young journalist to ask other people to name what's special about her, and compassion by asking her to name what's special about others. While your child will probably not want you actually working with her on her journal -- hey, some things are private -- you can still teach the habit of journaling. Set aside some official "Journal Time" each day to sit together and write together; this is a great opportunity for you to keep a journal
too. After writing time is complete, schedule a little talk time to:
- Reveal one thing each of you wrote during your time.
- Discuss anything on your child's mind, or on yours.
- Share a cup of tea together or other grown-up-type treat.
Of course, if your child is a boy, he's not going to want to go near the girly Journal Buddies format. If your son or daughter feels more comfortable at the computer, set up a blog for him or her to write in daily; you'll want to monitor it closely to make sure no revealing or inappropriate information is divulged, but this can be a great outlet for kids to practice writing and exercise their imaginations.