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Summer Planning for Children with Special Needs

Summer vacation often poses a challenge for parents of children with special needs. You can find programs that will provide an engaging and enriching environment for your child, but it’s important to start thinking early about what kinds of activities your child would benefit from and what your options are.

Determining your child’s needs When choosing a summer program, it’s important to consider your child’s age, interests, and personality. You’ll

also want to think about how summer activities can help support your child’s year-round learning. Here are some questions that can help you determine what kind of summer program would be good for your child:

• What would your child enjoy? Many children have a particular passion, such as music or animals. If your child has a special interest like this, look for summer programs that would encourage her passion, such as a zoo pro-

gram or a music camp.

• What skills is he working on? A child who needs help learning to read could benefit from a program that provides

specialized reading tutoring. If he’s been focusing on socialization skills, a noncompetitive camp setting with lots

of interaction with other children could be a good opportunity to continue learning how to interact with others.

If he needs to acquire skills that will help him get a job in the future, maybe an internship would be a good idea.

Think about the goals he has been working toward during the school year and how he could continue making

progress over the summer. Your child’s Individualized Education program (IEP) can serve as a guide.

• Does your child have difficulty with new or unfamiliar situations? If so, a camp or other program may be challenging. Talk with other parents in your child’s class or your neighborhood to see if your children could attend a program together.

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