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://

Here are some links for special needs summer programs:

Special Olympics- http://

Buddy Up Tennis- http://

Top Soccer-

I Can Ride Bike Camps-

Easter Seals-

Gi Gi’s Playhouse-

American Camp Association-

Very Well has a list of Inclusive Sports Programs-

Friendship Circle List of Camps-

Diveheart Scuba program-

Diveheart 2013 336

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….

photo (124)

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

Blog #119~Autism Survival Kit

Blog #119~ Autism Survival Kit

Recently I was reading a Facebook post.  It was a poll, asking parents to name their number one necessity item needed for their child with autism.  This got me thinking what would I include in an autism survival kit?  My son Nick, is 21 years old and has Down syndrome and autism. Here is a list of 21 things that you might want to pack in that survival kit.  Note, the last 4 are MY essentials 🙂


  1. Rug shampoo machine
  2. Plumbers snake
  3. Paper towels in bulk
  4. Deadbolt or key pad locks
  5. Child proof locks and rubber bands for cabinets
  6. Noise canceling earphones
  7. Weighted blankets
  8. Swing set
  9. Mini trampoline
  10. Essential oils with a diffuser
  11. Chewy tubes
  12. Figit toys and stim objects
  13. Melatonin
  14. Back up iPads and iPods
  15. Laminator for PEC pictures and schedules
  16. Nail polish remover
  17. Back up clothes for trips and community outings
  18. Coffee
  19. Wine
  20. Earplugs
  21. A good sense of humor

Figit toys…..

figit toys

Transition Timer….

transition timer

Laminated PECS pictures….

IMG01 (13)

This is why I included nail polish remover….

photo (116)

School is going to be out for the summer. ESY (Extended School Year is a short day), so arm yourselves and be ready.  What is YOUR necessity item that you would add to the kit?  I’d love to hear it!  That’s what is in my noggin this week.


Nick sensory toys