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  • Writer's picturePaula Migliaccio

What To Do In Summer...With Your Special Needs Child

Updated: Dec 27, 2023

Well, BEFORE the pandemic, this was an easy question to answer - go away with family camping in the RV, or stay in a hotel during summer travels, and put kids in camps the other summer weeks. But all of our summer plans have had to be curtailed quite a bit now due to stay-in-place orders, shut-downs of campgrounds and camps, and limitations of who we're allowed to spend time with these days. Even though we can't do all the things we used to, it's still important to structure our days for the sake of our special needs child. Here is an example of how to make sure you put structure into each day:

Each day should include the following and be put on a Visual Schedule for all to see:

  • Exercise (stretching, yoga, running, hiking, bike riding, jumping on trampoline)

  • Read an appropriate chapter book (or read to your child if he cannot yet read)

  • Chores/responsibilities to be done daily (such as, clothes in hamper, make bed, help set the table, help make dinner, walk the dog, etc)

  • Free Time (not more than an hour at a time)

  • Choice of Activity to do with an adult (ex: craft, board game, puzzle, cards, cooking, music/instruments or dancing, sports)

  • One Hour of school reinforcing activities such as summer workbooks (Summer Fit Activities workbook series has workbook exercises to be done every week during summer to help bridge between grades), spelling, vocabulary, reading or researching places you might visit, writing about places you visit, learning to type, learning script or practicing writing letters, etc!

  • Summer is also a great time to have a TUTOR to make sure your child is ready for the fall school year!

  • An "out of the house" activity daily such as the park, swimming, library (if it's open), volunteering someplace, etc

  • A Field Trip/Exploration Day once a week: beach day, national park hike, scavenger hunt somewhere, and when these are open/safe: museums, historical sites/houses, zoos, amusement parks, concerts in the park, mini golf, etc!

  • Instead of activities at a camp, try an online fun class for your child, such as through Outschool

Many of these ideas were given to me by a therapist when my son was younger to try to help the summertime be less stressful due to the lack of structure not being in school can sometimes create--but now during this pandemic, there hasn't even been the structure of school to help ground our kids, so it's even more important to try to set up some structure for the coming summer months. And remember too--if you are concerned that your child may have fallen behind in his/her learning over the past 3 months of online schooling, summer is an excellent time for kids to catch up before fall--hire a knowledgeable tutor like myself to help your child get back on the path of learning so that once fall comes, and school resumes, he/she will be ready for the new school year!

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