The summer days often leave caretakers wondering what they can do with their children. Although there are a lot of opportunities for “other” children, those with disabilities often require parental support to participate in the activities that other kids do. Check out these ideas to make this summer the best one yet.
- Attend a Conference: Increase your knowledge of how to advocate for your child, create a social network, and have a safe place to leave your kid. Register soon for these conferences because child care slots fill up fast.
- June 15-17 The Family Weekend Retreat for deaf and hard of hearing children and their families is very affordable ($75 a family!) and includes lodging at a residence hall. Some of the session topics include hearing loss, assistive technology, interpreting, maneuvering the legal system, and children with multiple disabilities (Austin, TX).
- June 22-23 TxP2P Parent Conference offers limited childcare with restrictions on the supports available. Nevertheless, because of its short duration, it is an option for those families who can have one person watch the kids and one person attend the conference. Early registration ends on April 29, so check out the session for dads only, as well as Medicaid appeals, IEP meetings, influencing local and state representatives, finding balance, and more (San Marcos, TX).
- Find a VBS at a Church With a Special Needs Program
- Shipwrecked at Faithbridge Church. “Come ashore to VBS 2018, June 11-15 where your kids will learn how they have been rescued by Jesus! We will have two sessions, both an AM (9am-12pm) and PM (6-8:30pm), and the cost is $20. This year for our mission project, we will collect new socks and underwear for kids in foster care.” – directly from the website. Special needs children are given a buddy for this VBS.
- Super Place Camp 2018 at Tallowood Baptist Church. This camp runs from July 30 – August 3 from 9:00am – 12:30pm. This camp is specifically for special needs campers ages 4-through high school (up to age 22) and each one has a buddy.
- Super Place Adult Retreat This camp is new this year! Memorial Drive United Methodist Church welcomes post-high school adults with disabilities to a VBS with music, art, service projects, and recreation in addition to the typical Bible school. June 19-21 from 9 am to noon.
- Take a Night Off!
- Send Your Child to Camp
- We Rock the Spectrum Houston/Memorial offers three week-long summer day camps. Dates are June 18-June 22, June 25-29, and July 9-13 from 9-12 or 1-4. The cost is $39 a day or $189 a week. Potty trained children ages 4 and older are welcome. One-to-one services are available. Call (713) 766-6635 for more information/registration.
- Check out the Special Schools Coalition of Houston Summer Guide for local options for your child. Some of them are pricey, but they all sound like incredible opportunities.
- Consider a Different Therapy
- ABA Therapy – If your child is autistic and your insurance covers ABA therapy, the summer is a great time to get started. Many therapy places will start a student very quickly after the insurance is verified. Some programs work like a school day and others provide support in the community for your child. Using the community-based program has its benefits because your son or daughter might be able to attend a summer activity with an ABA therapist that otherwise he or she could not attend alone.
- Equine Therapy – If your child loves animals, there is not a better therapy for him than equine therapy. The sensation of riding a horse fires endless nerve endings that usually do not get any attention and the benefits of this therapy can far outweigh other therapies for the cost. I personally recommend SIRE and Morning Glory Ranch in the Houston area, but there are many others out there and the summer sessions can be as inexpensive as a few hundred dollars.
If you try any of these activities, please comment below. I am excited to hear about your experiences.