Posted in Autism, Down syndrome, Recreation/Leisure and Special Needs

Blog #176~ Special Needs Summer Recreation Programs

Blog #176~Special Needs Summer Recreation Programs

The heat is on!  Are you looking into programs for your child with special needs this summer?  There are many types of programs available including camps, athletic and leisure programs.  A great place to start is to contact your local park district to see if they offer any special recreation programs.  For programs in here in Illinois click on this link: http:// www.specialrecreation.org

Here are some links for special needs summer programs:

Special Olympics- http:// www.specialolympics.org

Buddy Up Tennis- http:// www.buddyuptennis.com

Top Soccer- http://www.topsoccer.us

I Can Ride Bike Camps- https://www.icanshine.org

Easter Seals- http://www.easterseals.com

Gi Gi’s Playhouse- https://www.gigisplayhouse.org

American Camp Association- https://acacamps.org

Very Well has a list of Inclusive Sports Programs- https://www.verywell.com/special-needs-sports-programs-3106922

Friendship Circle List of Camps- http://www.friendshipcircle.org/blog/2013/02/13/25-summer-camps-for-individuals-with-special-needs/

Diveheart Scuba program- http://diveheart.org

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My son Nick (pictured above), is 23 years old and has Down syndrome and autism.  He has participated in many of these programs over the years.  These include local library programs, Special Olympics, Challenger Baseball League, Top Soccer, adaptive swim lessons (thru the park district special needs program), Diveheart scuba and I Can Shine Bike Camp.  During the summer months he also attended ESY (Extended Summer Year) summer school.  These programs helped him to learn new skills, have a structured routine, and develop friendships.

Nick at ESY Summer School…..

 

I Can Shine Bike Camp….

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Many of these programs are available for children with special needs throughout the U.S.  My son Nick had great experiences in participating in these programs. It never hurts to just try a new program, you never know what might be a good fit!  If you know of a program you would like to share, please contact me.  I’m always updating my resource list on this website and sharing them with other support groups.  Here’s to a great summer 🙂

That’s what is in my noggin this week!

~Teresa 🙂

Follow Nick:

Facebook and Pinterest @Down Syndrome With A Slice Of Autism

Instagram #nickdsautism

Twitter @tjunnerstall

 

 

 

 

Posted in Autism, Down syndrome, Recreation/Leisure and Special Needs

Blog #66~Taking the Leap to a Support Group

Blog #66~Taking the Leap to a Support Group

I can’t make it there.  I have two boys that are 19 months apart under the age of two.”

“I have it under control.”

“We are okay.  There is no need to reach out to the local Down syndrome support group.”

“I have no energy to get out in the evening to make it to a meeting.”

Those are some of the excuses I have used.  It’s hard to take the leap to a support group.  Over the years friends and teachers have offered names and phone numbers of other parents whose children had Down syndrome.  I found it difficult to make those cold calls as well.  It’s not easy to open up and be vulnerable around people you don’t know.  Every parent handles the diagnosis of a child’s disability in their own way.

Eventually I did reach out to the local Down syndrome support group.  What I found was a community of individuals who had been on their own roller coaster of emotions.  They had dealt with uncertainty and doubt.  They had experienced anger, fear, worry, sorrow and guilt.  These parents offered encouragement and reassurance.  In addition, support groups can provide a forum for sharing feelings and concerns as well as providing information, advocacy and resources available.  See more information at: http://www.ndss.org/Resources/New-Expectant-Parents/Finding-Support/#sthash.dTRJb4bF.dpuf.

When we moved out to the east bay area outside San Francisco we didn’t know anyone.  The Down Syndrome Connection: http://www.dsconnection.org  provided resources, after school classes, social events and an invaluable kinship.

5 Year old Nick with his buddy playing in the Challenger Baseball League….

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Nick at the Down Syndrome Connection Picnic 🙂

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Before we relocated to the Chicago area twelve years ago, the local support group called National Down Syndrome Association, NADS: http:// www.nads.org,  provided a list of parents that lived in the area which we were planning to look for a home.  These parents were so open to answer my questions about school districts and gave me emotional support even before the moving truck had pulled up to our house.  NADS continues to provide services and has been instrumental in making a difference with Nick having the second diagnosis of autism.  Within NADS, there is also a sub-group called “Down syndrome and More,” which holds retreats for families dealing with a second diagnosis.

Nick at the NADS Retreat….. 🙂

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Music Therapy at the NADS Retreat…..

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These days there are multitudes of online support groups and Facebook pages to reach out to.  There are several Facebook groups specific to Down syndrome and autism.  Be sure and check out my resource page for more.  As a parent I have gone through phases where I thought I had things under control.  When Nick’s body was raging with hormones during puberty he had massive meltdowns.  After talking to a few parents whose children had Down syndrome also had autism, I realized the need to get help.  I also quit being ashamed that I was a bad parent that couldn’t control my child.  By reaching out to the support groups for assistance, I found out that I was not alone.  It has made all the difference.

Help is out there, sometimes you just have to take a breath and make the leap.  That’s what is in my noggin this week.

~Teresa