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Since summer is in full swing or halfway over for your family, it is important that you continue to make the most of your child’s summer therapy. Whether your child is attending Extended School Year or a summer camp, summer therapy for special needs children can help children make significant gains developmentally, functionally and behaviorally. Summer time is also a time that special needs children can continue to
- improve their communication skills
- build trust in others
- develop socialization skills
- decrease isolation
- control their impulses and emotions and
- learn about limits and boundaries.
Unfortunately, some therapies or summer programs last only a week to a few weeks. However, this does not mean that your child will not make some progress over the summer.
So how can you make the most of this time?
By following these tips.
⇒Stay consistent. Make sure you are keeping up with your child’s schedule. Do not skip any days if you can help it. You want to ensure your child participates in the full time that is allocated (and that you may be paying for).
⇒Stay involved. Know exactly what is going on in the therapy. Understand your child’s goals and monitor their progress.
⇒Ask questions. If you have a question about what is happening in the school or during a therapy session…ASK! Sometimes parents are shy about asking questions. But remember, this is your child and you want the best for them.
⇒Stay in touch with your child. Ask your child about their day and what they have learned. If your child is able to communicate this information, have them tell you about their favorite part of the day.
⇒Take a break. On non-therapy days, take a break and have fun! Go to the park, swimming pool or an amusement park to enjoy the day.
⇒Include extra sensory activities. This is especially important for children with any related sensory issues. You want to keep you child occupied during those down times. You can make sensory crafts, play sensory games or have them experiment with food items.
⇒Remember that play is therapy. Seek any extracurricular activities that offer therapeutic benefits, such as swim or music lessons. These activities are learning experiences, while your child is having fun.
⇒Keep in touch. If your child really responded to their therapist, camp counselor or teacher, stay in touch with them. Hopefully, they can provide the same services during the year or next summer.
⇒Last but not least, break away. I think this is the most important tip for parents…make time for yourself. Every parent needs a break. So if you can, take a mini vacation or do something special for yourself.
As the summer continues to get away from us, stay active! No matter no child’s ability or disability, summer programs are a great opportunity for children to enjoy their summer, while experiencing activities that can help them grow and progress. So, continue to stay involve and watch your child experience a summer that they will never forget.
How is your child progressing this summer?
Do not forget! One of the best things you can do this summer is use the Summer Checklist. Make sure your child’s IEP is in order for next school year! Click on the checklist below to download.
An additional tip, if your child is not enrolled in any summer program this summer, start planning early next year! When searching for a summer program, you want to find a program that focuses on your child’s interests and can meet your child’s developmental and medical needs.