Children with disabilities’ development outside the school.

Children with disabilities often have weaknesses in the areas of communication and socialization and a variety of actions, like preparing for everyday life, communicating with animals, listening or performing music are used to enhance their abilities in skills’ acquisition.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy is a way to teach the children with special needs to be as independent as possible and also their parents how to help them. A variety of specializations exist in that field: some are experts on different diseases, others work with distinct age groups and thirds use different approaches. Occupational therapy with a sensory integration approach was established by Jean Ayres for children with difficulties in sensory data processing (Schaaf & Miller, 2005).

There are different types of activities that are being improved:

– self care (eating, dressing, toileting, bathing and grooming);

– school (adapting to regular school);

– play (interacting);

– environment (participating);

– motor skills & handwriting;

– splinting.

This therapy was oriented initially on children with learning disabilities, but after some experiments therapists applied it on other patients (autism spectrum disorders, regulatory disorders, attention deficit disorder, fragile X syndrome).

Pet therapy

“Dogs and humans became best friends in Europe more than 18000 years ago.”

Saey, 2013, p. 6.

That interaction between animals and people started when they were used as defenders, totems, and helpers and were an important part of everyday human life. Also pets operated as healers; nowadays this cooperation between a trained animal, patient and a therapist called animal-assisted therapy. The main goal of which is to develop social, physical and emotional functions of a person being treated (Braun, Stangler, Narveson & Pettingell, 2009).

The target population of that kind of therapy is people with physical and mental disabilities, elderly, chronically ill patients and children. The latter group is being most effectively treated by pet therapy. Animals – not only dogs, cats and dolphins, but also horses, birds and fish – could increase child’s bonds with their environment (Odendaal, 2000).

Music therapy

Music therapy is another way to help children to enhance their abilities and develop their social, physical and oral-motor skills. More specifically, music may facilitate communicative responsiveness in children with disabilities. In addition, music can stimulate spontaneous speech.

During therapy, all children show increased communicative responsiveness, suggesting that music therapy may be effective in increasing communicative behaviors in children with autism and severe communication impairment (Braithwaite & Sigafoos, 1998).

Considered in total, occupational, animal-assisted and music therapies may lead to increased communication among children with various special needs and to develop a lot of other skills that sometimes cannot be achieved at school .


Braithwaite, M., & Sigafoos, J. (1998). Effects of social versus musical antecedents on communication responsiveness in five children with developmental disabilities. Journal of Music Therapy, 35(2), 88-104.

Braun, C., Stangler, T., Narveson, J., & Pettingell, S. (2009). Animal-assisted therapy as a pain relief intervention for children. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 15(2), 105-109.

Odendaal, J. S. J. (2000). Animal-assisted therapy – magic or medicine? Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 49(4), 275-280.

Saey, T. H. (2013). Modern dogs originated in Europe. Society for Science and the Public, 184(12), 6.

Schaaf, R. C., & Miller, L. J. (2005). Occupational therapy using a sensory integrative approach for children with developmental disabilities. Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews, 11(2), 143-148.

3 thoughts on “Children with disabilities’ development outside the school.

  1. Thank you, Guldana for post about different therapies for CWD. I am interested in this area and can add, that also sport activities and art therapy (music as you mentioned, but also painting, dance, drama, fairytales and photo therapies) practice can help children to grow, getting rid of negative emotions.
    I strongly believe that if there are so few schools in Kazakhstan which give CWD opportunity to study and therefore socialize, such types of therapies you mentioned can provide them with a little more chance to develop their communication abilities, find friends and increase their self-esteem.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Kate for commenting my blog, I agree with you that therapies are the one of the ways to help those children. Especially, when we do not have a lot of opportunities to provide them with quality education and to ensure their socialization. I met a lot of literature about art therapy while searching sources for this post. I knew about your interest in that field and decided not to touch that theme and wait to your blogs)


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