Summer is about half over. How are you faring with your Exceptional Child? I can tell you that even after structuring and planning out summers for 11 years and 8 years since I knew Michael was exceptional, I still learn new things about what he needs and I need every summer. I have the basics down pat. I have a child who needs A LOT of structure so either I am doing the Mom camp trekking from place to place or he goes to camp for a good chunk of the summer. This is costly in financial terms, but in emotional terms, his and mine, camp is a godsend. Of course he has to like it. What I learned is that he needs a camp where he moves a lot. So this summer, it is Sports Camp all around. I tried an arts camp as he loves painting and sculpture, but he got bored with the type of art offered and the limited physical activities were for a younger boy than him. If we structure 5 to 6 weeks with camp, the remaining 3 weeks at home with me is enjoyable. That’s because I am lucky to be home in the summer and do most of the big things around the house I need to do when he is at camp all day. In the last 3 weeks we do family vacation and another round of Mom camp for a week and usually we are all set to go back to school and work.
What will work for you and your child? I have some friends who go to country places. Some friends join a community pool. Some split up 2 weeks here and there with camp, then grandma and grandpa help. It really depends on your child and what they need. Some kids with exceptional brains need more structure than others. Some like to be home. Some like to be out. Every year may be a little different as you and your child are growing. They are growing up, and you are growing older so your energy may change. It’s important, whatever you do over the summer, that you plan out what you think would work best for your child and yourself and family. There’s nothing worse than having a stressful summer, and although kids with autism often have a more difficult time in the summer, there are lots of ways to try and plan out what you can to eliminate stress. Don’t forget as well, to allow for spontaneous times too. This is trickier with kids who often thrive with routine, but introducing a little bit of uncertainty here and there slowly into their lives will help them cope with uncertainty one day as an adult.
Exceptional Parents, how has your summer been so far? If it’s been a rough one due to medical conditions, different expectations or other reasons, don’t beat yourself. Learn what you can from the experience, and you’ll have that much more information to have an easier summer next year. Also, take it one day at a time. There’s still time to make some good memories with your child whatever you decide to do. Until next time.
I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.