It's time to make plans for summer. Some of us wander to the four corners of the earth and some of us have "stay-cations". Most of us can't have it all, so we stay close to home and put the rest of the money in the college account or buy new tires. Oh, it's such a blast being a responsible adult...NOT.
Summer plans aren't so easy when you have a child with special needs and the more traditional activities of typically developing kids weren't easy to find in the days before the internet. You can find just about everything you need "out there".
Now, you can go to sites such as Autism Speaks and type "summer camps" in the search bar and up comes the list! Some of the more well-developed therapy agencies in your town such as occupational/physical therapy professional groups may have opportunities, as well. Does your community's summer parks and rec program tailor their activities to include kids with special needs?
What about kids with ADHD? CHADD or Children with ADD is a great resource. If you sign up, you'll get a monthly magazine, Attention!, that has creative ideas to include your ADHD child in the classic summer sports, camps and outings that all kids enjoy.
The key to all of this is getting an early start. You know these kids and what they enjoy, but experimenting with activities they may reject might open up a world for them they didn't know was "out there". Pay attention to what is going on in your community.
When you walk by the quilting store or fabric shop, are they offering lessons? When you get to the dry cleaners, is there a sign in the window for horseback riding lessons? Check out your local newspaper for summer opportunities. These days, there are entire sections devoted to "what you can do for summer in your town".
Does your kid like to cook? No cooking classes available? Consider hiring a local chef or a culinary student to give a lesson or two in your home. With some basics under their belt, they can be recruited to help make dinner! You just might learn a thing or two.
If they are considering art, now is the time for them to interview an artist to see how they use their art to make a living they love. A professional lesson may go a long way to building foundational skills.
What about an experience like The Tinkering School that offers summer camps Outward Bound programs are designed for kids and adults to teach self-sufficiency and competence-based skills. It gets kids out of their heads, off of their devices and into the outdoors.
Not a car guy? Then, you be the one to make arrangements to have a few of your son's friends learn get some lessons on basic car maintenance and trouble shooting from a local mechanic who has his own garage. Make sure you are clear about your expectations of how they are to conduct themselves and be present for the "workshop". Ask the other fathers to come, too. Or mothers for that matter.
The Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth offers a wide variety of programs for kids. Check it out today as your child may need to take a test to apply for the program. It's an amazing resource for the bright child in your life.
Shake it up. Instead of spending a fortune going to the movies, have a water balloon night. An all-out balloon brawl. Burgers on the grill or pizza delivered to the door makes it a carefree adventure. Have you ever played badminton? It's hilarious. You don't need an expansive yard, just enough to run around a bit. Yard games make for fun and hopefully, light-hearted competition. Oh sure, there will be fights, but who can fight for long when you're having fun?
Have an ice cream buffet. No dinner. Just ice cream. Have you tried the Stonewall Kitchen ice cream toppings? [They call them dessert sauces and there are 13 of them!] I LOVE the Dark Chocolate Toffee Sauce...
When our Aunt Neoma turned 95 last year, my husband went to see her. She is quite the "chick". So much energy, such wit and humor. I arranged for about 5 or 6 of the toppings to arrive when he was there and they had an "ice cream social". It was a blast, apparently, at least from what I saw of the pictures. Yes, there were whipped creamed faces involved. They just couldn't help themselves.
What about a movie night? Make a nest of blankets and pillows and pile on. Popcorn, candy, treats of all kinds and "watch till you drop", so to speak. Talk about easy peasy!
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