Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Balance and summer vacation

Balance.  That's what I'm striving for this summer.

Balancing summer break for a typically developing child and a non-typically developing child.  Balancing fun and free time while meeting the goals we set for the summer.  Balancing time outside with time spent in therapy.

I've never sat down and actually written out summer goals before.  I've had lists - many lists - of places we want to go, people we want to see, fun we want to soak in.  I'm a list maker, not a goal setter.  This summer, though, my extreme dislike of the phrase "I'm bored" and the frequency that I hear it around here led me to create a few more detailed goals other than Enjoy the Summer!

My older daughter loves notebooks and she had found a few I stashed away and was looking for a reason to write in it so I took that opportunity to have her help create our summer goals and to write them down.  There are 3 major categories with items (in list form, of course!) under each goal.

This summer we will Learn New Things.  For my older daughter this includes all things art which she wants to explore this summer.  We have plans to visit local art museums, galleries, crafting programs and websites.  She also wants to learn to write in cursive so I've picked up a learning handwriting book at the Dollar Store and supplement it with some items from the internet.  For my younger daughter it includes communication goals to increase her use of her eyegaze communication device and changing up some of her therapies in order to better prepare for kindergarten in the Fall.

This summer we will Take Day Trips locally.  This list is extensive and filled with fun ideas and we are constantly adding more.  My plan is to have the girls select one place from our list each week to visit.  We even picked a few places to visit as a family and my husband is working them into his vacation schedule which already feels nicer than the usual "I'm taking off from work tomorrow, what should we do?" discussions.

This summer we will Continue Learning for Reading and Math.  This includes both girls participating in the summer reading program along with attending the fun free activities at our local library.  It also includes continuing working on telling time and money concepts for my older daughter.  For my younger daughter I recently learned how to hook up her communication device to a laptop computer so she can learn to start "writing" as part of pre-literacy.  I'm planning on working with her on that a little bit each week along with working with her to learn and execute on multiple-choice questions using her talker.  I think learning to pick an item from a multiple-choice list will go a long way in understanding her current reading ability and comprehension and help better prepare her for kindergarten.

All this initially sounds a little too structured for my idea of summer but in practice it only takes up a fraction of the time we have available.  There will still be ample down time, swim time, camp, playing with barbies, bike rides, family movie nights, getting together with friends, etc.  All the standard things our family associates with summer.

After all, I'm striving for balance.  Check in at the end of the summer and I'll let you know how it goes. In the meantime, feel free to share in the comments section goals you have for the summer.

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Kristina is the mother of two charming daughters and wife to a wonderful man who puts up will all her wild ideas.  She works to raise awareness of cytomegalovirus (CMV) and preventing CMV exposure during pregnancy.  Kristina graduated from the national Partners in Policymaking program in September 2010 and is an advocate for disability rights and inclusion education.  You can read more at


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  2. Summer camps for kids with disabilities and their families. i particularly like "Victory Junction" in North Carolina.

  3. It sounds like you all are going to have a wonderful summer. In order to get the balance, have you also booked yourself some *me time*? :)

    1. Thanks so much for your comment. I have managed to carve out a bit of me time. Probably not enough, though!

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  4. Wow, you're on it! I love it.
    Since Ethan loves school so much and thrives on the structure, I redecorated our office and set up a mini-classroom for him. There are shelves with labels and all of his books, games, and toys are organized. He has a desk and we set a schedule and "work" together each day. He's earning tokens and we bought a Wii to reward him with. So far, so good! And there's still tons of time here for therapy and swimming - our usual summer stuff. It's going so well, I am pinching myself!

    1. I'm so happy to hear that, Heather! Seems like the extra work for you is actually making the summer go a bit easier, which is a good trade-off if you ask me!