OUR TOP FIVE SUMMER TIPS:
1. PLAN AHEAD
Reach out to your Case Managers now to find out who will be your point of contact over the summer. Think ahead to where your child will be next year and if they are moving to a new building (Jefferson, MMS or SOMS, CHS) make a plan to visit, even if it’s only to the outside of the building. If your child is a walker, practice the walk to school AND home multiple times. Double-check that your child’s IEP and transportation forms are in order. Reach out to your current teacher to ask what has worked well in their classroom to set your child up for success. Even a short email can help you figure out what techniques and strategies would help in the coming year. Then, once you know who your child’s teacher will be, email them these strategies as well as a short introduction to your child. Teachers report to school before students do, so you may be able to request a short FaceTime or Zoom call before the first day so your child can meet them.
2. KEEP ON SCHEDULE
If you are doing ESY or Camp, that is a great way to maintain a schedule over the summer. If you can, keep as many routines as you can the same, such as mornings and bedtimes. Talk to your child about the upcoming schedule change to summer. Make a countdown chart for when they will return to school. You can use a white board to write out the daily schedule. If your child is younger and not reading yet, you can make a picture chart. Preview the next day at bedtime. Allow your child to participate in creating the schedule, especially when you have breaks in camp or ESY that create off-schedule days.
3. STAY SOCIAL & STAY ACTIVE
Get class contacts now so you can plan playdates over the summer. Sign up for camp and/or classes to keep your child engaged. Look for summer activities to attend, especially those at the library. Plan family events and plenty of outdoor activities like beach, pool, etc. Water and heavy work help children with sensory challenges to regulate, so it’s exercise for the brain as much as for the body! Create a “Summer Bucket List” with your child to give them agency over planning.
4. ENCOURAGE READING
Our town libraries have lots of great summer activities and a summer reading program. Sign up! The school district also puts out summer reading guides. Go over them with your child and highlight books they are interested in. Plan one day a week as library day to go pick out new books. At the start of summer, some families go to a local bookstore and let kids pick out a stack of new books for the summer. Model reading by doing it yourself, too! Have a friendly competition in your family and create your own reading prizes.
Parenting isn’t easy—especially for parents of children with disabilities. It’s important for you to take time for yourself to relax and recharge. Find some time this summer to do something for yourself. Meditate, enjoy the outdoors, or try a new hobby. Take care of yourself so that you can best take care of your child!
🪁 Join the SOMA Special Needs Kids Activities and More Facebook group