Monday, June 4, 2012

Activities For Your Special Needs Child

With summer vacation quickly approaching if your like me your looking for things to do with you special needs child.

After school, school vacations, half days are bad enough but what about SUMMER vacation, there are weeks when you need things to do....

For me I just don't have the luxury to put him in any recreational program/summer camp or enroll him in  any "typical" activities, nor can I just drop my son off for a simple play date, he's just far too complicated and needs constant supervision.

Here are some idea's I have come up with through the years:
  1. Find  a chapter and Join the local ARC . They have lots of recreational activities for children with all types of disabilities. My son has benefited from the one on one cooking, swim classes, adapted baseball and soccer, music therapy, and social skills playgroups. For older children they have outings and field trips and dances. The ARC also offers things like family gatherings  and family swim at local YMCA's. (check our your local recreation department or schools as well for challenger baseball, soccer etc..)
  2. Contact your local Department of Developmental Services (DDS), This particular link is for Massachusetts but google search DDS in your state, they are a great source of information and know of agencies that you may be able to contact.
  3. Do a search for a local Pediatric Occupational Therapy Clinic. Many offer play groups and social skills groups. My son attended swim therapy and a few social skills classes at The Kioko Center.
  4. Join your local PAC (Special Education Parent Advisory Council) in your area meet other parents get idea's on how they keep their child busy. Maybe start your own play group.
  5. Contact local horse farms, there are some that offer Hippotherapy and some also offer group  sessions making it fun for the kids, some group sessions and camps.
  6. Music Therapy is a great and fun way to help your child with any IEP goals such as on social skills, verbal skills much more.
  7. If your in Massachusetts check out The Recreational Education Center   a play space for with "our"  kids, in mind.  For $15 they have "open rec" every day from 10am to 6pm! The center is run by an ABA therapists and its a great place to let your child just "be" who s/he is and its quite relaxing not having to explain the quirky behaviors away!! They also offer programs such as social skills groups, summer camps, after school programs and parent support. If your in the area its a MUST to check out and the program accommodates ages 3-22!
  8. Check out local farms, spending the day on a picnic petting animals is a great non-stimulating idea.  Our favorite is Davis Farm Land in Sterling, MA its even has a sprinkler park to cool off on hot days.
These are just a few idea's that come to mind.

Having a special needs child is challenging enough, thinking out of box constantly is grueling...and while putting them in a "typical" situation is good for them most of the time (for us anyway) it can be a disaster and more work than it needs to be....

Hope you have found some of these ideas helpful.

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