Like it or not, summer is quickly approaching. Gone are the days of being foot loose and fancy free, eating ice cream, laying by the pool. Now you actually have to figure out how to.. GASP… entertain your kids for almost 3 months! Have no fear, I have a few tips and tricks that might help to both entertain and teach your kids.
Generalization: As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, take advantage and go out with your children. Have you been working on community locations in your home program? Instead of just looking at the picture of the Grocery Store, go there! Make a list of groceries, work on categories by reviewing all of the “fruits” as you walk by, try teaching your child to ask the staff for help, practice those enter/exit signs- the possibilities are endless!
Pre-Academic Skills: Many parents are eagerly (and nervously) preparing for the transition from Pre-School to Kindergarten. Use a list like the one here: http://www.education.com/magazine/article/kindergarten-readiness-secrets/. Go through the list and brush up on any skills that might help your child to have a better start to their year.
Work on the New IEP: If you have a home program/BCBA, I would highly recommend this one. Usually, you have just renewed your IEP at the end of the school year. Work with your BCBA to task analyse these goals and start to teach some of the basic pre-requisite skills over the summer. Make sure that your BCBA sends in a report with your child upon entering school in the Fall, so the teacher can start where you left off. I have found this to be invaluable for both helping the child to have a great start to the year and to setting high academic expectations right from the start.
Play with Friends: Since its summertime, many of your neighborhood children might have looser schedules and be more available to play for a play date. Bonus points if you ask your BCBA for help on things to work on during these times. Double bonus points if your BCBA attends a play date and works directly with your child and the peer to maximize social skills instruction.
Camps: Does your child have a special talent that you have yet to tap in to? Summertime reveals a multitude of camps, both academic and non-academic in nature. Does your child love to draw Spongebob characters? Why don’t you see if he can expand his interest to drawing other things in a local recreational art class?
Learn Basic Routines: This one is my favorite. Often I hear from parents, “I don’t have time in the morning to teach him how to properly brush his teeth, so I just do it”, “Instead of practicing those 2 step directions to get his back pack and then put his shoes on, I just verbally prompt him through it because I am short on time.” Don’t get me wrong- I GET IT. You have places to go and people to see. But during the summer, maybe you do have the time to work on these things. You can target areas that typically slow you down during the school year and teach your child these skills to independence and fluency. That way, next year will be that much easier!
Hmmm… As I write about all of these options, I keep thinking that every kid could benefit from some of these things, not just those with disabilities. On that note, feel free to share this information with all of your friends and family. And have a GREAT SUMMER!