A Vacation from Speech Therapy!
Yes, you read it correctly: today's post is about NO SPEECH THERAPY!
I know, a strange title for a speech therapy blog! However, let me explain....
Recently I spoke with two different parents who have children diagnosed with autism. One mom shared with me that her daughter's speech therapy program was suspended for the summer, so she was looking for opportunities to get her involved in social activities. Another mom shared that she was voluntarily opting out of all her son's private therapy appointments for the summer. NO speech, no OT and no PT for the next two months. Her son had been "acting out" at his private appointments and she decided to "give the kid a break" and try something new for the summer. He will still have the benefit of attending preschool and receiving his school-based therapies, but the rest of his summer will be filled with new activities, as well as new people. When she shared this idea with me, I encouraged her to trust her gut and go for it!
So, now I would like to share some of the ideas I talked about with both moms - activities they have gotten their children involved in this summer as well as some novel opportunities we each thought of for later this summer and the future:
- Swim lessons and/or join a pool
- Learn an instrument with beginner lessons
- A music class/camp
- A dance class/camp
- Classes at the local YMCA or community center
- Join a team and play a sport!
- Join a local "autism group" - if this is appropriate. Great way to meet other families dealing with the same diagnosis. Many times they will have regularly scheduled outings
- Arts and crafts class
- Trips to your local parks (free!) - wonderful and easy way to meet children in your neighborhood
- A weekly summer camp
- Farm camp - an opportunity to milk a cow and feed the sheep
- Riding therapy
- Weekly story time at the local library (free!)
- Invite children from the neighborhood or child's school over. Make sure you have lots of yummy treats as well as fun games, toys, art supplies, etc., available for the children to play with and enjoy. (One mom is already doing this and has had really positive results in her neighborhood.)
Just a few ideas to get your wheels spinning if you are looking for things for your children or students to do to help expand their experiences and social network.
Another tip: When appropriate, involve the child in the decision and choose opportunities that foster their natural interests and talents!