As the parent or family member of a special needs child, you work very hard during the school year to help your child adjust to the routine, feel comfortable in a school environment, and practice important skills with his or her peers. It can then be understandably difficult to help your child adjust to the end of the school year routine and a new summer schedule. It may also be a time of anxiety for you, as you fear your child might regress in some of his or her developmental learning skills. Here are a few ways to prevent regression during your child’s summer break from school:
- Maintain a routine. Though summer break is intended in part as a break from routine, for children with special needs, maintaining a routine is absolutely essential. While there will likely be some variables in your summer schedule, try to establish a daily schedule as best you can. Post the schedule in a place where it is visible to everyone in the family and include segments of time for any learning activities you wish to incorporate, such as an art project, science experiment or reading together. This will help you maintain a consistent routine for your child throughout the summer.
- Take advantage of many learning opportunities in Northeast Ohio. Whether it’s a special program at the Cleveland or Akron Zoo, a storytime at your local library, or an outdoor hike or class at one of the Cleveland MetroParks, the Northeast Ohio region offers a variety of programming for children and families to enjoy through the summer. Try to find a couple activities that best fit your family and incorporate them into your summer plans. These programs are usually great learning opportunities—and lots of fun! If you’re looking for other ideas to have fun and create new learning experiences at home, the summer edition of Parenting Special Needs Magazine has lots of ideas, like camping, backyard obstacle courses or outdoor water play.
- Register for a summer camp. You may not realize there are summer camps designed especially for children with special needs as a way of helping them maintain and continue to build on important developmental and social skills throughout the summer break. Peak Potential Therapy offers a variety of camps in Northeast Ohio; while registration for 2017 filled quickly, there are several weeks of camps with spaces still remaining or waitlists started.
If you have questions or concerns about how your child will adapt to a new summer routine, please don’t hesitate to contact the team at Peak Potential Therapy. We’re here to help and provide whatever guidance we can.