Developing Curriculum Based on Autistic Obsessions


If you have a kid with special needs who is as obsessed with bugs as mine is, you just might be interested in how I used my autistic daughter’s bug obsession to develop a science curriculum for her homeschooling program!

Even though I am no longer legally required to homeschool my special needs daughter, Bethany, we both still love to work on educational activities together!

You may already know that Bethany has a great love for insects, especially woolly bear caterpillars AKA woolly worms and now her new love, earthworms!

Since she really does love insects so much, I thought I’d design a little unit study about insects for her to enjoy.

Hopefully, while she’s having fun working on her educational activities, she’ll also learn more about the bugs and insects that she loves so much!

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*This post contains affiliate links.

So, without further adieu, I give you my list of 5 “must have” items to create an insect curriculum or unit study!

  1. The first item I recommend for teaching special needs kids about insects is actually the book that started Bethany’s interest in bugs! It is the Giant Sticker Activity Fun Book: Trucks, Bugs, and Dinosaurs.  This book is chock full of beautiful, real life photographs of insects and learning activities based on insects such as:  Math-counting and adding lady bugs and other insects, Handwriting: tracing the names of insects, insect sticker puzzles and more!
  2. The second “insect” learning material I purchased for Bethany is a sticker/activity book specifically about insects. Unfortunately, the one we have is no longer available, but Discover Bugs Find, Stick & Learn Sticker Book is very much like it!
  3. Next up, I highly recommend children’s books about insects.  We love,  Caterpillars, a book that was given to Bethany by one of her sweet YouTube fans! Given Bethany’s great love of Woolly Bear caterpillars and worms in particular, I’d also like to add the following books to our collection someday: Wiggling Worms at Work, Garden Wigglers, Oh No, Woolly Bear!,  The Secret Life if the Woolly Bear, and  Woolly Bear Winter.
  4. Of course, no unit study on insects could be considered complete without at least one insect identification book.
  5. And lastly, one cannot possibly study insects without catching and observing at least a few real live bugs! Of course, you can always use a jar with a few holes punched into the lid for air, to observe your bugs. However, I’ve found that I rarely have a suitable container on hand when the insect hunting “bug” strikes.  That’s why I highly recommend purchasing a Bug Viewer! That way you’ll always be prepared!

For a more long term insect keeping experience, other items my family has found enjoyable are a Butterfly Garden, Uncle Milton’s Ant Farm and the Lady Bug Land.

We’d also like to purchase an Worm Farm Observation Kit.

And if money were no object, I would love to add the following items to our unit study! I think plastic insects,  Insect X-ray and Picture Cards, and Geoworld’s Collection of 10 Real Insects would be great additions to any insect learning experience!

Also extremely helpful in teaching special needs kids about insects would be field trips to butterfly conservatories such as Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden the Joseph L. Popp Butterfly Conservatory, and Entymology exhibits at natural history museums!

And don’t forget the multitudes of videos that can be found on Youtube! teaching-special-needs-kids-3

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*This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks in advance if you should decide to purchase an item through one of our links at not extra cost to you. 100% of all commissions earned from sales go directly toward providing a better quality of life for our daughter, Bethany, a brave brain tumor survivor and special girl!

If you have a minute, please check out our Amazon Store where I have put together a list of my favorite books and resources and Bethany’s favorite games and products and our Etsy Shop where you can instantly download vintage book illustrations and prints of Bethany’s paintings!

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