Summer is here and so many families are heading on vacation, going to the pool or lake, spending times outside, and just having a great time. For parents with a special needs child however summer is a completely different ballgame!
I am a teacher so I really look forward to spending the summers with my kids, you know catching up on all those things we don’t get to do during the school year. With school out, the schedules that our special kids value within an inch of their being are gone. The familiar faces they know and love at school are gone. For those on the spectrum the social skills they have been working so hard on through the school year are slipping away. We parents struggle to keep them entertained in a productive matter so we can maintain our sanity. For those that work all year round, finding appropriate care for them while we are working is next to impossible. Our typical kids summer fun also suffers because we are often tied up with just getting through the day.
Vacations are tough in our house too. Many of our kids on the spectrum cannot be in hot environments for long periods of time. As I write this blog, my family is currently visiting my mom in South Dakota. My mom is out with my nieces and nephews and my oldest child at the swimming pool. I chose to stay back with Taylor to keep her safe. (See previous blog titled “My Inspiration”) If she is exposed to high temperatures for even a short time, her lymphedema* will flair up and the extreme temps could also trigger seizures. Taylor overheats because she does not sweat like typical kids. She gets very red and overheats quickly. I am crossing my fingers that the extreme temps settle down for the remainder of our trip so we can venture out to enjoy this beautiful state.
So for all of you parents out there counting the days until we get some routine and normalcy back in our lives, I GET IT! You are not alone. I try to enjoy as much inside as I do outside. We often do things at night so Tay can tolerate the temps. I also read as much as I can and communicate with her therapists on things we can do to keep working on those skills that took years to learn. Time eventually passes and we are back in school. For parents, it will be a nice reprieve from the chaos of summer. In my many Google attempts to stay sane, I came across http://www.playproject.org/summer-activity-ideas-for-children-with-special-needs/. Check it out. This link provides some great ideas and resources for things to do, vacations, summer camps, and general tips for surviving your summer. Or join a local support group like http://www.specialkidsspeciallove.org/. Just being around parents and children going through the same thing can be your saving grace.
Have a great rest of your summer!
*-(Lymphedema occurs when your lymph vessels are unable to adequately drain lymph fluid, usually from an arm or leg. –according to http://www.mayoclinic.org)