Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Surviving Summer

This summer has taken some getting used to - I think I may have mentioned it here a time or two. In an effort  to create some sort of a schedule, we started renting Red Box Family Movies every day. Tonight the boys are watching Free Willy while eating popcorn. Last night it was Beverly Hills Chihuahuas. It has been a relaxing way to end the day and spend time with each other.

Another mom blogger recently wrote about how summer is a stressful time for parents with children with special needs. She mentioned how most other families lavish the thought of days filled with no schedules. For parents with children with special needs, it can be a challenging time.

We are fortunate to have a therapeutic recreation division within our county parks and recreation department. They coordinate an eight week camp for children with special needs. The schedule includes weekly swim sessions, field trips, music therapy and gymnastics time. The ratio for the camps with smaller children is almost 2:1. The camp director is educated for this special population and understands the value of changing activities often while providing a consistent schedule.

This summer, Ben is attending 6 weeks at this camp. He has made new friends and been reacquainted with old ones from past years. Ben's private therapists meet him at the recreation center for their sessions. And when I pick Ben up at 3:30pm, he is rarely ready to go. Luckily, his brothers get to stay and play for awhile on the indoor jungle gym.

Sounds delightful on paper, but the reality is we are in a mad dash in the mornings to get out on time with lunches and bags packed. The right equipment and gear needs to be ready to go and then we have to be somewhat on time because of field trips or therapist appointments. On some days, it feels like driving to and from camp is all I do.

Next year, I will be better prepared mentally, physically and emotionally, and plan some downtime with movie nights and popcorn. And is it "playing hooky" when you miss camp a time or two?

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