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Planning a summer vacation for your special needs child

When planning a summer vacation for your special needs child, it’s never too early to ask him or her for input. Find out which activities your daughter is currently enjoying the most and what your son's hopes are for the blissful stretch of time when school is out.

As with any family activity, keep your child’s interests, developing skills and difficulties in mind. If your child normally has trouble adjusting to new settings, it could be a good idea to begin by visiting familiar territory. Similarly, you might plan to bring along a friend with whom your child feels comfortable for long periods of time.

Special needs family camps are another summer option. Such camps invite the entire family to spend a weekend together in an accepting setting, where special needs kids and their loved ones can bond over a variety of outdoor activities in a more calming, convenient setting than most traditional camps offer.

Your child’s school is a great resource for finding day programs or overnight camps geared towards your child’s interests. A simple Google search will also turn up targeted results. 

Ensure that whatever summer camp or destination you choose has the facilities to meet your child’s needs. Never hesitate to request a tour of camp facilities with your child to make sure everyone feels comfortable there. Pay special attention to bathing, eating and sleeping arrangements. Jot down a list of care considerations your child requires so that you can speak with camp management about them specifically.

As always, when planning for your child, make sure any schedule works well realistically and fits within boundaries with which your child is comfortable. Over-extending your child or under-engaging his or her interests can create a stressful summer experience. With planning, your family can enjoy the great weather and expand your child’s knowledge, interests and horizons.