When a family member has challenges in the areas of learning, behavior, or mobility, going into a summer adventure can take more planning, thought, proactivity, and research. But that doesn’t need to be a barrier to creating fun for the whole family to enjoy.
Summertime is synonymous with BBQ’s, swimming, stargazing, and sleeping in right? Well, maybe. For some parents, a lot of parents actually, summertime can mean searching for childcare when school is out, transitions in therapies, attempting to keep a consistent routine, keeping children occupied/safe/engaged/having fun….it’s a lot of legwork!
“How can I create easy fun for my child as well as my whole family?” “How can I integrate learning into having fun so my child continues developing and is ready for when school starts again?” These are questions of many parents raising children with special needs. These are also the kinds of questions that we at Rethink, a healthcare technology company providing support and training to parents of special needs children, are discussing during this time of year with our parents. When a family member has challenges in the areas of learning, behavior, or mobility, going into a summer adventure can take more planning, thought, proactivity, and research. That, however, doesn’t need to be a barrier to creating fun for the whole family to enjoy. Fortunately, more and more organizations designed to create family fun are jumping on board and being more mindful of how they can better accommodate all guests with all abilities. Parents are also becoming even more savvy at advocating for accessibility and carving ways for their family to have fun while sneaking in learning along the way! Here are a few considerations for creating a fun summer the whole family can enjoy together:
Across the country, more movie theatre organizations have created environments for ALL families to come and enjoy their favorite characters. The sensory-friendly showings of films come with a “lights up, sound down, no previews, run around” concept, making it a more comfortable atmosphere for parents who may otherwise be worried or embarrassed by a tantrum, loud talking, singing, or an energetic child running up and down the aisles. These showings have increased in popularity over the years and theatres now offer them multiple times each month. The Autism Society is a large partner in this concept and parents can learn more about the history behind sensory friendly movies by visiting autism-society.org. Some participating theatres that parents can check out are:
Similar to movie theatres and playground builders, many of our theme parks are updating their policies and resources to better support all their guests. From guests accessing the rides and attractions themselves, to providing special services such as sign language interpreters, quiet rooms, and listening devices, this culture has spanned outside the US to several international parks. Disney, in particular, is world-renowned for being mindful of the unique needs of families. They dedicate specific care to a variety of needs and even have unique branches of their website for cognitive, visual, mobility, or hearing disabilities, light sensitivities, service animals, and more. Here are a couple of considerations for families who are interested in a theme park adventure:
Going on a family vacation can certainly make forever memories for kids and parents alike. Family vacations can also get tricky with all the logistics and planning. Luckily, many brave parents have paved the way and have left great tips for special needs families to have a successful trip where everyone has fun: