Sometimes, I feel like we wait all year for summer to come. We think we will miraculously catch up on put off projects, and catch our breath. For me, it takes me a few days to believe I actually have the time to do those things, and that I am on vacation.
Once I get the hang of vaca, I am easily persuaded to forget about those long awaited projects, like cleaning out closets, and organizing, and get into full swing playtime, or at least some type of recreation. Then about mid-summer, I will have intruding thoughts of bulletin boards and lesson plans that I promptly push out of my head, as fast as they come.
Now, when I had three small children at home, summers were pre-ordained with full days of swimming, and story times at the local library or bookstore. As the kids grew, and it was down to just Bri and I , we had a lot more flexibility, except for the fact that everything I planned with her was a purposeful event to increase language skills.
Having a child with a disability often means that summer , or anytime is not relaxing as a whole, but you must learn to steal a few moments of relaxation as you can.
Often the prep work of getting your child to be independently entertained for the shortest amount of time can deter you from even attempting to read a book on your own, or get anything personal accomplished without a price. By that I mean, if I think that my child is independent, and can easily go downstairs to watch her show, if say, I am in the shower, and she can be trusted to be on her own for a while. Sometimes, that may be perfectly true. Other times, it means that yes, she found the remote control on her own, but she sat there for 10 minutes without sound, because for some reason even though she knows all the buttons, that last little prompt is necessary to adjust the volume. Or if that is okay, then the salad, I just made might be disposed of because she found no need for it.
So many little adjustments to the day, that you don't think of over a long time of raising a child with Autism, because it just becomes second nature.
The point of all of this is two-fold. One , remember Teachers and Parents of typical children, that this is the reality for most of our families and friends with children on the Spectrum. Be kind and supportive, and don't assume that they have much down time. Two, for the Parents of Children with Special Needs, do not be afraid to ask for help, or look for small breaks when you need it. This is essential to survival, whether it is Summer or Winter. Thank you to my village, who definitely understand this about my life.
For more tips and strategies on how to survive summer gracefully, get a copy of my book:
Connections: A Journey of Love and Autism
Available in English and Spanish on Amazon
@1010 Publishing Company