Summer break is just around the corner, and we’ve gathered advice from the experts on how to strategize a successful summer for your special needs child!
Some parents might choose to enroll their special needs child in summer classes, and some might opt for the traditional school vacation. Either way, your child is going to experience a transition in downtime and activities, and helping them manage this transition well can significantly impact their personal wellbeing and that of your whole family.
Maintain the Safety of a Schedule
Many children are excited for the freedom of summer, but for children with mental or developmental issues, lack of structure can actually cause stress and anxiety. Very Well Family points out that for special needs children, structure actually helps life make sense. Many parents find it helpful to maintain a consistent schedule for their children throughout summer, mirroring the school year schedule as closely as possible. Child Mind Institute says that maintaining a consistent sleep and meal schedule can help special needs children remain comfortable and cooperative.
Keep in mind that a consistent schedule and a familiar routine should be followed even if your family goes on vacation during the summer. Vacations can be very stressful for special needs children and their parents, but sticking as closely as possible to your home routine can mitigate that stress. Consider staying in a house or apartment with more home-like features than a hotel, and consider sticking to a familiar meal plan even if it means bringing favorite foods from home or skipping out on a restaurant experience.
Make Schedules Visible
Child Mind Institute goes on to offer advice for children who thrive on predictability and might experience trauma during transitions such as a school break: make schedules visible. You might consider posting schedule in your home that helps children understand the outline of their day. Sometimes – especially for children with autism – the more details the better!
For children with developmental disorders, the structure of the school year tends to be helpful. But when summer comes along and there aren’t specific plans in place each day, special needs children can feel anxious. It’s helpful to keep to a schedule and communicate that schedule regularly. When an irregular event comes up, such as dinner at a friend’s house, it’s best to communicate this with your child as soon as possible so that they have a framework to get comfortable with.
Enjoy the Outdoors
Whatever their developmental needs, no child benefits from spending all day in front of a screen! Find outdoor activities that your child enjoys and feels comfortable with and add them to your child’s routine. Some parents find specialized summer camps helpful and others find that their children benefit best by just going on outings such as bike rides or trips to the park. If your child is overstimulated by public outdoor activities, try enhancing your schedule by incorporating backyard games such as playing tag or splashing in the sprinklers. Any parent agrees that burning energy is always a good idea!
Remember that if you ever have a legal issue concerning the rights of your special needs child, Stuart M. Nachbar is here to represent your case and fight for justice. If you have questions, give us a call at (973) 567-0954 or contact us online.
Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C.
354 Eisenhower Parkway,
PO Box 2205,
Livingston, NJ 07039
Tel: (973) 567 0954
Fax: (973) 629 1294