Planning for Summer Vacation with Your Child with Special Needs

It's almost upon us. The time of year some parents love while others loath - summer holidays from school. For families of children with special needs, the arrival of summer often raises problems because of changes in their children's routines and transitioning their children from school based activities to home.

Hopefully, you've begun to discuss your child's impending summer holidays with them. Children with special needs, like many other children, like to know what is going to happen next.  They are used to a particular schedule now and need to be prepared for the fact that it is going to change. Talk to your child about the school year coming to an end. Use a calendar to illustrate the number of school days remaining. Your calendar can also be used to remind your child as their last day at school gets closer. You could have your child mark each school day off on the calendar.

Now you need to plan what is going to happen this summer.  Some things to think about:

  • What routines will remain the same?  Bedtime, meal times etc.
  • What routines will change?  Dressing, wake up time, etc.
  • Are their particular skills you want to work on with your child over the summer? Social skills, coordination, riding a bike, swimming, etc.
  • Does your child need help with a particular subject this summer?
  • Does your child have medical or therapy appointments you need to keep over the summer?
  • Are there exercises or other activities you need to do with your child to maintain your child's progress? Handwriting, motor skills exercises, touch typing, etc.
  • Is your family going away from home for a vacation?
  • Is your child going to a camp?
  • If your child will be starting a new school next year, are there steps you need to take to start preparing her for that transition?
  • If you are working, who is going to be looking after your child and what types of activities will that person do? Do you have a back up babysitter/caretaker if that person is sick?
  • When do you need to start preparing for the next school year?
  • Don't forget to think of yourself!  As a caregiver, you probably need a break and this break should also be considered.

Once you've thought things over, do a rough draft of your child's summer schedule.  Review this schedule with your child to get her input. Consider making this a visual summer schedule with your child and putting it up in a spot both you and your child can refer to easily. Hopefully some planning will help ease the transition into a summer schedule and make it an enjoyable period for your whole family.

If your summer plans include air travel, take a look at:

Special Needs, Disability & Air Travel

Here are some links which will give you ideas of things to do with your child this summer:

©Mary M Conneely T/A Advocacy in Action

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