Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What Now?

So it's summer and your child with disabilities is too old for any camps (assuming you could find a camp that would accommodate their needs). What do you do?

As a single mother, I have to work full time. I am the sole provider for my family. I have aides for both Ronnie and Ashley, but the aides are not always comfortable taking them out into the community. And sometimes, to be honest, I'm not comfortable with the aides assuming that responsibility. So my children end up staying around the house all day, and rightfully so, getting very bored.

But even if I didn't have to work and could stay with Ashley and Ronnie all summer, what activities would we find to fill three months of days with no school? And getting a job is not likely since most of the non-disabled teenagers can't even find jobs.

Yes, there are museums and parks, libraries and movie theatres. But after the first month, some of those attractions grow stale. We can't travel all the time - the money for that just isn't there. We will take a week's vacation in August, but August is a long ways off.

So what do other parents do with their almost-adults with disabilities? How do you keep them interested and interesting; how do you help them maintain their skill levels; and most importantly, how do you help them continue to prepare for independence in the future?

The best I've been able to come up with so far is volunteer work. Ronnie is helping out with some office work at Sportable, the adaptive sports organization that runs his basketball and lacrosse teams. He is also learning to wash and maintain a lot of the sports equipment and wheelchairs. I haven't found any volunteer work for Ashley yet though.

If I can't come up with some ideas soon, it's going to be a very long summer, and I fear, a prelude to their lives after they leave school permanently.

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