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5 Tips for Planning a Special Needs Birthday Party

5 Tips for Planning a Special Needs Birthday Party

Planning Special Needs Birthday Party Photo

Birthdays are extremely important to kids. It’s like their very own holiday that celebrates them!

Planning a birthday party for any child can take a bit of work, but planning a party for a child with special needs requires a little more thought.

If you are planning a birthday party for a child with special needs, here are five tips to keep in mind that will help you throw an event that will make the guest of honor feel as special as possible.

  1. Keep it Simple

A lot of parents go all out when it comes to a child’s birthday party. For a child with special needs, you may want to tone it down. Depending on the child’s needs, too many people, too much activity and a lot of noise may make the birthday boy or girl feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable, which will make for a not-so-great party.

Of course, you want to have decorations, activities and guests; after all, these are the things that make a birthday party fun! However, you might want to limit how much is going on. If things are too out of the ordinary, the birthday celebrant might feel uncomfortable.

  1. Carefully Plan the Menu

Fried foods, chips, sweets; kid’s are usually served all of the foods that they aren’t allowed to eat on a regular basis at a birthday party. Too much sugar can lead to hyperactivity and too much fried food can cause indigestion in all kids, but for special needs children, the side effects of unhealthy food can be particularly problematic. It can lead to behaviors that they cannot control and could potentially negatively interact with any medications they may be taking, as well.

Limit the amount of sugary, fried and processed foods you offer. For example, instead of offering tons candies, ice creams and other sweets, only serve a birthday cake. Serve up healthy foods, but if you want to make them a little more festive than normal, try switching up the presentation or giving them a clever name. For instance, broccoli could be called broccoli trees!

  1. Invite Parents to Stay

If any of the guests have special needs, ask their parents to stay for the duration of the party. Doing so will allow you to focus on your own child, as well as everything that needs to be attended to throughout the party. It will also prevent you from having to juggle any issues that other children might experience.

  1. Be Prepared for Anything

When it comes to kids, you always need to be prepared for anything. This is particularly true for kids with special needs. Changes to their normal routine or too much activity could lead to aggressive behavior or meltdowns that they cannot control.

Children Birthday Party Fun Photo

Make sure you’re ready for any behavioral issues that may arise. Issues may not arise, but don’t be surprised if they do.

  1. Prep Your Child

Sudden changes can be too much for children with special needs to process. Make sure that you prepare your child well in advance of the party. Discuss what is going to happen, what types of activities or changes there will be on the day of the party and perhaps even throw a mock party, complete with décor, so your child will gain an understanding of what to expect.

By following these tips, you will be able to throw your special needs child a birthday party that will make him or her feel extra special, and that’s a huge success.


Naomi Shaw is a freelance journalist residing in sunny Southern California with her husband and three children. She is a work-at-home mom that enjoys writing on fashion, beauty, jewelry, and interior design. She loves to garden, craft, and revamp furniture, making it look very much her own.

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