Activities for Summer Camps…

Whatever maybe the shortcomings of your child, it is very important to always point out the achievements that he/she makes. Always, always, always, focus on the positive and not on the concepts not yet mastered. You have all the time in the world.

You must remember at all times that the special needs children do not misbehave on purpose. They want to please you. They want to feel important and worthwhile. Sometimes they may experience difficulty carrying out a task because they have too much energy or because they simply feel frustrated and cannot focus on the task at hand. But be patient and let them know that you are proud of their efforts.

It is a good idea to keep a record of your child's achievements. This way you will be able to easily recall the events and experiences that you both enjoyed the most. This will also help you to remember those activities which kept your child's attention and those which did not.

Please do not overdo the rules. Flexibility is the rule. Think about it – how much fun can making a clay critter or painting a sunshine be if all you hear is, "Don't make a mess" and "Sit up straight."

Take lots of deep breaths. Breathing exercise helps in the long run.

Always be fair and honest with your child.

Don't worry if your child is not reading at the same level as his peers. Don't panic if your youngster doesn't speak or write as quickly as his brother did. If you do suspect that your child has a disability, contact your doctor and make sure the proper tests are carried out. Knowledge is half the battle won.

All children will be able to take part in some sort of art-making activity. By doing so, they will feel an enormous sense of accomplishment and increased self-esteem. However, be sure to choose all activities carefully – gearing the activity to the ability of the child.

You can make available lots of modeling materials like clay or homemade dough. This is true for visually impaired children as well as those who have limited fine motor control.

If your child is visually impaired, gather a variety of textures to experiment with - smooth papers, rough handmade papers etc. Scented markers are always fun and all children enjoy the fragrances. You can have lots of "big paper" for large movements of the hands and arms. Finger painting (bought or homemade) is a terrific tactile material. Weaving is also a great idea. Drawing or painting in time to music is always a hit.

Building objects is a great way for kids to feel that they have accomplished something. You could try bits of wood, mat board, cardboard etc. You can work as a team, gluing pieces together and in the end even your visually impaired children can feel their creations as they evolve.

You could involve children in making musical instruments or any art object that makes noise is great. Children with Down syndrome respond especially well to music, as do youngsters with autism. You could expose him to musical instruments where he can "feel" the music if your child is hearing impaired. Allow him to experience the wind that blows from a woodwind and the vibrations of a guitar string or drum head. Activities like dance, dance, dance is fun and stimulating for children.

You could find yourself a support group by contacting other parents who are in the same situation as you and find out what works for them. Thus you can share your triumphs and your failures too.

Try as much as possible to expose your kiddos to the things that make them happy - the things that make them laugh - the things that make them clap their hands and smile.