Have You Planned For Your Child’s Summer break Yet? (Part 1)

Nadia Shanab | autism, general advice, parenting, tips
23 May 2015

In the two posts Home-Schooling and A Special Interest Is Power I talked about the importance of encouraging individuals with autism, and special needs in general, to practice and develop their special interests and talents. The summer break, in particular, is a great time to do so.

  1. First, it is the longest break of the year, which allows more time to focus on what kids like to do and are good at.
  2. Second, it is a great opportunity to do many outdoor activities (walking, hiking, camping, biking, running, surfing, fishing, boating, building sand castles on the beach….)
  3. Third, travelling is a huge experience and an excellent learning opportunity for individuals with special needs.

Summer breaks give parents the chance to plan for a more flexible schedule. It is easier to accomodate for practicing special interests, activities, and talents in a more relaxed way.

I still have to emphasize the importance of having a daily schedule even durning summer breaks, as well as any other breaks. Regardless of the activities listed on the schedule, the child’s brain and mind should always be kept active in a processing mode. Voids and gaps in the schedule encourages laziness of the brain and slows down mental engagements.

I recommed that you create a schedule with diversified activities, with a focus on your child’s favorite subjuct. As mentioned before a special talent or interest can turn into a career. Try to include a physical activity, artistic activity, or a cultural activity to develop different parts of the brain.

Summer is also a great opportunity to expose your child to new activities and people. Travelling broadens the mind’s horizon and inspires new ideas, besides encouraging social interaction and communication skills.

I did not by any means intend to turn your child’s summer break into a forced labor, I am simply saying take advantage of this time to develop her talents in an organized, well-planned, and well-structured manner.

A reminder of a success story would be Temple Grandin’s. One summer her mother decided to send her to her aunt who lived on a ranch to spend a few days to help her become more independent and bond with her family. Temple ended up staying the whole summer. She designed an automated gate for the ranch. Besides, she discovered her love for animals and became an inventor that summer. She designed the first squeezing machine. Later on she became an animal scientist professor besides being the designer of about fifty percent of the live stock facilities in the US.

Don’t waste your time! Start planning now if you haven’t already done!

In Part 2, I will suggest some activities and places to visit to help you choose what suits you and your child best.

Have a great summer!

nadia shanab

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