Summer!!!!

Time to relax

Time to have fun

Time to play

Time to swim

Time to regroup

Time to work

Time to set some goals.

Wait…What did you say?

Those last two goals are not supposed to be there?  But, you see, they are when you have a child with special needs.  We don’t have the luxury that others may have when the calendar turns to June.  But with the right mindset, Summer is a pretty great time.

Summer is definitely a time to have fun but also a time to continue work

The thing is, with a bit of thinking, planning and imagination, the work can be so mixed in with the fun that you don’t see it as work at all.

I have come to see each and everything we do in our days as potential teaching times for Elizabeth.  And I think that that mindset can allow me to “work” throughout the day and not have a true “worktime.”  Unless, of course, you are doing school work and even I cannot think of a way out of making that a “worktime”. 😀.  So if you continue that into Summer activities then you will have great success. 

1. THE EQUATION AS I SEE IT

knowing what your child likes to do +what you want to work on + the way their special needs affects them will = an activity that does it all.

For example, Elizabeth used to love playing with bubbles.  We needed to work on her eye hand coordination and having her reach for things that were not directly in front of her. And her dyspraxia made moving quickly a bit hard.    

So instead of just blowing bubbles or having her dip a bubble wand-

-we got a big bubble wand with a long handle

– we would dip the wand

-swing it to make some seriously big bubbles all around her

-have her step right and left and reach high and low to get them all

So it is bubble play with a twist.  She had fun and we worked on some skills.  

You can take the typical and make it better for the child in so many ways. So start thinking now and make a list!

2.THREE MONTHS IS LONG

The other thing is, Summer is a nice long time. So think how great it is that you can work on little things a lot of times.

Another example, Elizabeth was getting to the age where she should hang her own clothes.  She would have preferred the maid continue to do this for her.  The maid being me!  But instead, she and I set a goal that by the end of summer she would be able to hang a shirt, pants on a hanger and be able to get a shirt from inside-out to right side out.  

Dyspraxia made this step by step process hard.  But because we could work on it a little at a time and had the chance to do it often.  She is now able to hang clothes with the best of them.  Does she do it?  Truthfully?  Not as much as she should because she is a teenager and they hang things when they run out of clothes or can’t find their favorite shirt.  But trust me, she has the skills down!

3. PLAN IT ALL

Planning is another thing that helps keep the fun in summer.

– Many time the spontaneous trips to places can create anxiety.  

-The sudden trip or event, to others is great.  But for our children? Not so much.  

So don’t be upset if others can run at the last minute, you can have fun too. But things need to be scheduled a bit more and the event needs to be explained a bit more, so that our children know what to expect. Even going on line to show them websites for the places or events you want to go to or attend is so helpful at taking down anxiety of the unknown.

4. SLOW THE PACE

Trust me, the benefits of doing things at slower pace will make you so happy you did it. Our quick decision to go to our, very crowded, loud and crazy July 4th parade one year, made me vow to NEVER, EVER do something without explaining to Elizabeth what to expect.  Think crying three year old in a huge crowd with a 5 year old sister wanting to see the parade!  Ugh, even thinking of it now makes me feel it all again.

I still love the end of the school year, with backpacks flying into our bins one last time, with three months of time to step off the treadmill of a school year.  I have come to see, over the last 19 years, that we don’t get to stop the work, planning and goal setting but instead we get the time to have fun and still do the things our special children need to continue to grow.

I would love to hear some of your plans for Summer….please share them because we are all here to help and support each other on this journey.

I hope everyone has a great start to Summer.  I know my children are looking forward to this time.  I am too.  I hope you are as well.

Michele

 

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