I have a friend who is quite spontaneous. From the last minute requests to meet for coffee to quick trips with her children, it is all done at the last minute and for her and her world, it works.
But for me and my world? Not so much!
I think something few people realize is that being a parent to a child with special needs changes so many things, but one big one is the loss of the spontaneity in exchange for a great amount of planning. So much planning goes into a what is a typical, effortless change of seasonal activities for others. From Summer to Fall and Spring to Summer, it all takes a great amount of work.
I say this because now is actually the time that Elizabeth and I begin to plan for Summer. Oh, I totally understand that is is only March. But I am quite similar to the retail world, you know a full season ahead of the actual date on the calendar? Remember how Halloween shows up around Labor Day? Well Summer is in my head and we have not had Easter yet. So with that in mind, I wanted to offer, in my opinion, the plan we have to help us transition to Summer. I hope they help.
Now is the time I think about Elizabeth’s goals for Summer.
– The ones we want to work on, not IEP related
– Do we want her to get tutored once or twice a week?
– Does she want to take any lessons?
– How many days will we be in a therapy?
– How many days a week does she want to volunteer?
Now is the time to talk to Elizabeth
– We talk about what she likes
– We talk about what she wants to do this Summer
– We talk about what she wants to take off the schedule.
The following are more generalized thoughts:
Now is the time to start making the calls
– If you are like me, the last thing you want to hear is that you missed a deadline for sign ups
– Or that the therapist is taking time off this Summer and you need to find someone.
– Or that the days you THOUGHT would work for something don’t and the days you wanted to be free are now not.
In other words, it is so much easier to get an idea of what is available now, allowing you to plan so much better.
Now is the time to make sure you have or do not have ESY
– That stands for Extended School Year.
– It is something available on the IEP
– It means, according to my understanding, that your child needs therapy during the summer so they will not loose skills or academic success
– For us it means that the school gives us a financial allotment to be used for summer therapies and tutoring,
– Sad fact here….I did not know about this early on for Elizabeth. Once I did, we had to have a fairly big discussion with the school to make sure we received it.
– So if this pertains to you, please verify it as you may have to have the therapist or tutor talk to your school about necessary paperwork prior to any summer work.
Now is the time to write it all down
– Put it all down
– Names of therapist
– Dates things are planned
– Phone numbers for easy access
– Ideas you have for extra fun in the Summer
Now is the time to remind yourself
– Put a reminder note in your April calendar to recheck with anyone you might have to call back and review your previous plans.
– Put a reminder in your May calendar to start talking to your child about summer, and keep talking as, for many of children, repetition is how they learn best.
I know Elizabeth and I are getting started on her Summer plans and so far so good.
I wish you all good luck as we all venture into another transition time.
Michele writes for TalkTools Blog every month about her experience caring for Elizabeth, her daughter with Sensory Processing Disorder and Dyspraxia. Follow her story since the beginning here.