While everyone else is blogging about Fall décor and pumpkin recipes, I am getting around to reminiscing about summer. I am a lower-the-bar kind of gal, but it is a bit silly that it’s taken me this long!
In years past, summers have been tough. Like many kiddos with autism, Camden struggles when he’s out of his routine. And my little guy was still small, so it made getting out a bit challenging. We made some progress two summers ago, but this summer I felt that we found a really good groove. After the first of the year, I brainstormed some ideas that I’d like to do with my guys…things they enjoy. Then I reached out to friends in our similar situation to see if they’d like to participate. I contacted businesses or specialists about putting a plan in place. It’s also good for Camden to maintain his IEP goals, so he did attend a summer ABA and social skills group.
Summer looked like this:
Monday: Our church sponsored a special needs music class and play time. We found a certified music therapist that led a small group for us. It was wonderful! She is super kind and musically talented, but also wise about utilizing music to bring about communication with kids where it may be lacking. After music, we’d go to the church’s indoor play area and just enjoy ourselves. So much of Camden’s initial language has come through music, so I valued this class. I also try to find fun things that my guys can to together that they both enjoy, and music is an easy one! And since many of our ASD friends struggle with wandering/bolting, it’s nice to have a contained air-conditioned area when it’s triple-digit temps outside. Many of our friends are walking through similar struggles with sleep and health and such, so it was nice to see the mamas and encourage one other.
Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday: We were incredibly blessed with some generous grants that allowed Camden to attend a summer ABA and social skills group. This gave him some structure and helped keep him on track with his IEP goals. He had tons of fun!
Friday: There is a local trampoline park that has been super gracious to implement a “sensory jump” for special needs families. They open an hour early and are extremely accommodating to the families. Typically, the place is crowded, has loud music playing, and lots of lights flashing. When we were there, it was not overwhelming…less people, music down or off, strobe lights off, wrist-bands not required, understanding staff, etc. SO nice to have a contained, air-conditioned, fun place for the kids to play. And it is refreshing to be around other families that understand. After the trampoline park, we met some of our sweet friends at an indoor salt-water pool. Originally, we were supposed to do swim lessons directed at special needs kids, but it evolved into just going for open swim time and allowing the kids to get more comfortable in the water. Some of the kids loved the water and had no fear. My boys are both super cautious and not big on water. Each summer, we push them a little more. Our big guy doesn’t really do chlorine pools, so his exposure to swimming pools has been very minimal. Both of my sweet guys grew BIG TIME in the water this summer! Amazing what exposure and no pressure can do for a kiddo! *Next to impossible to get good pics at the trampoline park or the indoor pool due to the lighting, but you’ll get the idea.
My biggest joys and remembrances about this summer:
- Our trip to Ocean City, MD. Seeing how much Camden loved the beach and how much Carson enjoyed being with his extended family.
- The growth that both kids made in the pool. We had a ton of fun swimming together!
- Bike trips to the park. Thankful to our friend, Danielle, that hooked us up with a bike trailer for Camden. And my heart smiles BIG to see Carson’s little legs pedaling his bike so fast! LOVED that!
- Sleep. Camden starting sleeping through the night in April. Other than the night this summer when he woke up with a ruptured ear drum, he slept the entire summer. That’s HUGE for us! For us to stay in bed till 7:30AM was bliss!
- So grateful for the grant money that allowed us to provide Camden with therapy this summer.
- Sweet mama friends and their kiddos to journey with.
- A hysterical, well-dressed, and generous blogger that loved on me via a shopping spree, and in turn, sent a lot of traffic to our site.
- Unrushed days with my precious little family.
Brian and I are not typically people to say things about how fast it all goes or how we aren’t ready for summer to be over, but things have changed. This is a very sweet season. Today my little guy is closer to five than he is to four. That makes my throat hurt. I know there are many more amazing days ahead! SO much to celebrate and cherish in each day!