Well, summer is almost here! Unfortunately, this author will still be dislocated from his family on the other side of the globe so I’ll miss all the family summer fun. In our household it is best to keep the kids busy in as many activities as humanly possible for the couple months they end the school year. This is best not only for everyone’s sanity, but for the safety of all involved as well (I’m just kidding…maybe :). Of course there is ESY because my wife is a stern negotiator for the educational benefits of our boys, and there is the myriad of summer camps and programs. Honestly, I have lost count of all the different and fun things that the boys will be participating in. I know there is Zoo camp, Space camp, a trip to Michigan for my 7 year old (all by himself on a plane nonetheless!) to stay with his Aunt Heather for a few days while he attends camp up there, then there are the fun activities for Mommy and sun like canoeing with the manatees and certainly I am probably missing YMCA programs and the list of things their private ABA provider will be doing with them in the weeks ahead.
Keeping your auttie engaged is very important. There is normal rhythm achieved during the school year that can be disrupted for them if they are not actively engaged in learning, behavior or social opportunities throughout the summer. There are many resources available in most communities for those with special needs. Check into them. I know my boys have some of the best times in the summer from the great schedule that Mommy works hard to create for them. Of course she has to play taxi driver for most of the summer, but that is better than locking them in the house or even the backyard for hours on end with limited engagement or opportunities for growth. Plus, parents need to get a break from what can only call ‘madness’ at times in the household. My wife is a saint when it comes to the patience, love and care she provides our three boys, but even saints have their limits. And when there is an opportunity to get away, even if for a brief moment, stress builds and can become a pressure cooker for all involved. Time away is the best cure. And that is ok. A parent should never feel guilty for wanting to have time, respite, away from their special needs children. That is the time ti re-energize, focus, get yourself centered and get back into the game – refreshed!
Make sure you call your local YMCA, contact your school and organizations that support special needs kids in your community to find out what programs you can take advantage of in the area for yours and your child’s benefit. Many are low cost and for some there are scholarship opportunities funded my non-profit agencies to pay for your child. Many times these scholarships go unused. Sometimes all it takes is to apply and your child is selected!
I hope and pray that your summer is a beneficial summer for your family – that your kids are staying actively engaged in learning, behavioral and social opportunities for their and your benefit!