5 Tips to Make Birthday Parties More Inclusive for Kids with Disabilities

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Birthday parties are lots of fun! Participating in events such as birthday parties is a way to build friendships and gain a sense of belonging in the community. Planning an event that considers ways to help activities be more inclusive and accessible can help create more opportunities for people of all needs and abilities to participate in the fun!

We asked parents and providers for some ideas on how to make birthday parties more inclusive and accessible for kids with disabilities. Below are the tips they shared with us.

Tips for Hosting More Inclusive and Accessible Birthday Parties:  

  1. Plan Ahead. When you are planning your party at home or at a venue, think about any potential concerns that may come up and share that information. For example, if there are pets or support dogs present, what does the space look like? Will it be accessible?
  2. Make your Guest List Flexible. Some children with disabilities and developmental needs may feel more comfortable having their parents, siblings or support workers with them for support. Be open to a few extra guests to ensure a great time is had by all.
  3. Consider Sensory Needs. Some children may become over stimulated in response to various sensory input, like sounds, smells, movement, etc. Consider arranging a quiet space that a child/youth could retreat to help self or co-regulate with another child/youth or adult.   
  4. Be Sensitive to Food Allergies and Feeding Differences. Food is usually an important part of any party. Be cautious with food choices and consider asking guests ahead of time if there are any allergies. If you know a child does not eat orally, connect with the child/youth or family about other ways that child can be included during the eating portion of the event.
  5. Gather Information Early: Use an RSVP form to help gather information ahead of time that can assist you in planning an inclusive and accessible party for all those who will be attending. Consider asking about dietary restrictions, requests for interpreting services/assistive listening devices, need for accessible parking or seating, as well as anything else that you can think of that will help make your birthday party inclusive for all those who attend. More information in the planning stage can really help to make sure everyone’s needs are considered.

Now that you’re ready to party, check out these YouTube videos that include craft activities that can be modified to accommodate various levels of skills and abilities. These activities have a mix of fine motor skills and sensory components perfect for party time fun!

A very Happy Birthday to all of you celebrating your special day!