As summer approaches, I look back to Ryan’s summers growing up. What was true of him at age 3 is true at 19. He LOVES the outdoors. It can be any sport – bicycling, swimming, basketball, walking/running and more swimming – as long as it’s outside!
Finding the right activity or program for your child/family is important. Summer can be tough for many families with a child on the spectrum as the spine of the structure of their lives–the school day—vanishes. I have a few suggestions you might want to consider.at 3 is true at 19. He LOVES the outdoors. It can be any sport – bicycling, swimming, basketball, walking/running and more swimming – as long as it’s outside!
- Are you interested in a continuation of his/her educational program? If you are responding yes to this question, you would want to first consider if he/she is eligible for Extended School Year (ESY). Based upon your child’s IEP, he/she may be eligible for a part-time or full-time program throughout the summer.
- Are you interested in a recreational camp? Some camps are designed for children with special needs and are usually highly skilled in dealing with children with behavioral challenges. Other camps include children with special needs with their typical peers. The Barber National Institute Ready, Set, Ride! camp is just that – a bicycle camp inclusive of all children focused on teaching children to ride a bike without training wheels.
- Would your child benefit from a Summer Therapeutic Activities Program? STAP camps are specifically designed for children and teens diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. The Barber National Institute offers Connections Camp each summer and focuses on helping campers develop interpersonal skills, manage their emotions and make good decisions.
- Start your camp search by researching some resources:
- What does your child enjoy? Does he/she have a passion for music, computers, zoo animals, nature, or sports (like my son)? This could lead you in a specific direction.
If possible, engage your child in this discussion. He/she may have specific ideas as to what summer should look like. No matter how difficult your summer may be, don’t let it slip by you. ENJOY YOUR CHILD, and summer will be a win-win for you and your child.