If your baby has special needs it’s more than likely that they can still attend a mainstream baby class, though you would need to discuss this with the instructor or class provider for to ensure that they have the appropriate training or awareness relating to your child.
If your baby is able to attend a mainstream class, checks should be made to ensure if there are any specific points that need to be considered given your babies specific needs. For example, an inclusive special needs sensory class may need to be adapted in places if your baby is blind or deaf to allow them to get the most out of a class. A mainstream sensory class may not be advised for a toddler or older child who has been diagnosed as autistic.
In some instances, certain baby classes have a positive effect on certain special needs, in most cases expanding on the benefits that are in place for non-special needs babies. For example, babies with special needs can benefit from swimming as it allows muscle tone to build through the increased water resistance that your baby experiences when in the pool.
Your baby’s motor skills can be given a boost and there is scope for social interaction in a fun environment. Similarly, depending on individual cases, baby massage can actually ease certain physical stresses and enhance joint mobility and lymph where appropriate amongst other advantages. With baby massage, your massage instructor can confirm if and how your baby can be massaged as strokes and pressure may need to adapted or removed from the full body routine depending on your baby’s needs.
Other classes that have a therapeutic and relaxing stance for special needs babies include baby painting (using food purees or baby safe non-toxic paints depending on your child’s age), which can provide a gentle introduction to textures and colours and work on developing hand to eye co-ordination. Storytelling and rhyme based classes can also be great fun.