I was watching T.V. the other day with Michael and a commercial for water balloons aired.

You have seen this one, I am sure, it is the self-sealing water balloons.  You can make up to several dozen at one time.

I was watching these kids on the commercial wind up and throw them, and I started thinking of how fun that would be and how easy it would be to use the balloons as a learning tool.

For instance, maybe your child cannot throw well.  How exciting for them to practice and strengthen these gross motor skills with the water balloons than a ball or bean bag?

And then I started thinking.

Summer is always thought of as a fun, relaxing time.

But the truth,  for those who have a child with special needs,  is that it is not quite the case. Here’s why…

APPOINTMENTS.

While others are signing their children up for summer reading programs, we are arranging tutoring, so skills will not be lost.

While time with “nothing to do” sounds fantastic to many, for a child with Dyspraxia or Sensory Processing Disorder, this may actually increase their anxiety because open ended time to fill can be challenging for them.  So for us, loose schedules help manage that anxiety.

Summer takes on a new form, sort of a combination of therapies, schedules and summer activities.

And this is where my thoughts went to after I watched the commercial.

I think I see summer activities as chances to teach a skill to Elizabeth.

I have always, ever since she was very little, learned to approach everything as a teachable moment.

While others are scheduling camps and outings, we are scheduling therapy

So:

  • Some may see water balloons, I see a chance to encourage fine motor skills as she tries to fill them up (unless you are getting those really cool ones that seal themselves).
  • Some may see plain side walk chalk,  I see an opportunity to play a word game or have fun tracing each other, to encourage concentration and patience.
  • Some may see a fun trip to the pool, I see a chance for her to practice ordering and paying for her own snacks.

The list goes on, but you get the point.

For as hard as we work for our children from September to June, I know that we all want those skills and things learned to grow in June through August.

We want the summer to be good.

We want summer to be fun.

But we need the summer to be productive.

I know with Elizabeth’s dyspraxia, it is so important to repeat and review the skills and concepts she has learned. This is the best way to keep skills and concepts current.

I think the key, for me, is to see each activity. To see them as the exciting event they are and then ask myself what this activity can teach or reinforce for Elizabeth.

We are on the official countdown to summer. In our world this begins when Michael gets done with school. Which is eight days, seven if you go by Michael’s philosophy the you really don’t count the last day anyway. “Since we are only there a little bit”.

I am excited for the time together and for the family fun that summer brings.

And I will be getting some of those balloons. I know Elizabeth will throw them well.

I wish everyone a peaceful week.

Michele Gianetti
Author of  “I Believe In You: A Mother and Daughter’s Special Journey” and “Emily’s Sister”

P.S.- use code THANKSYALL here this weekend in honor of all those who have served our country. *

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