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Kids and Smiles: Reading to Children with Special Needs

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St. George Children's room, Digital ID 94849, New York Public LibraryFor the last several years, I have been going to the United Cerebral Palsy Preschool on Staten Island to read to the children. The amount of joy that I have received from these visits is immeasurable. The children’s responses depend on the severity of their disabilities. The first three classes the children fully enjoy and participate in the stories. They clap, yell and laugh in all the correct places.

The last two classes can be challenging. I have to read slowly, softly and use low level books. But here in these last two classes, I have found the most joy and fulfillment. When one child smiles or repeats a word or phase that was in the material my heart flutters with excitement. In one of my most recent visits a teacher remarked that it was unusual that “John” responded to my story. He is usually quiet. To see him look at me and give a smile was truly priceless.

I recently established a relationship with another Special Needs Preschool on Staten Island – Our Place School. The children always smile when I walk in their classrooms and some even remember my name. Over the last several months, I have received numerous hugs and bright eyes that display such joy when I read to them. Some children even remember my stories and ask if I have brought that book on my current visit.

These are some of the perks that make working with children a pleasure that can not be measured. Kids and smiles… priceless!

For further information on children with special needs you may find the following books useful:

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