Summer Fun for ASD Kids!

31 May

Summer scares me. With good reason.

Last summer ranks as one of the most difficult for Paige, my now-15-year-old daughter with autism.  She was restless, moody, and generally miserable.  As her mother, I was restless, moody, and generally miserable, too!  Our tough season had many benefits—not the least of which was that we pushed for her to qualify for Medicaid (which she did) and funds for respite care (another yes).  We also switched schools, one of the few decisions I’ve made as a mom that has no down sides.  It’s all good!  Seriously!!

If you’re dreading the summer with your special-needs kid, consider reaching out to your local Easter Seals or school district for a list of camps and activities in your area.  Your kid probably could do with a dose of stimulation—and you need the break.

Here’s one program I love!  The following is an email I received over the weekend from the Dallas Museum of Art.  (I think this is such a fabulous program; the folks there are fantastic.)

Summer Art Camp for Children with Autism at the DMA – reduced price and expanded age range!

Due to the high number of adults who are interested in helping with the camp, we have decided to expand the camp’s age range from ages 9-12 to ages 7-12 since each child will be able to have more personal attention.  The summer art camp is specifically designed for children on the Autism Spectrum.  Stacey Callaway, the autism specialist that we work with to develop Autism Awareness Family Celebrations, and I will co-teach the camp for children ages 7-12.  The camp is a four day camp and will explore works of art in the Museum’s collection, integrate multisensory experiences, and have a wide-range of materials in the studio for art-making.  We will have several specially-trained volunteers on hand to assist with the camp.

Camp description:

hands-on art for children with autism
ages 7-12
Interact with works of art in the galleries, engage in a variety of hands-on experiences, and explore art processes to create a masterpiece in the studio during this four-day camp designed specifically for children with autism spectrum disorders. Taught collaboratively with an autism specialist and Museum staff, this camp will offer various media experiences and will focus on themes in works of art from many cultures. Visual picture schedules will be used to integrate art, music, social interaction, sensory exploration, and movement.
Please note this is a four day camp.

Cost: Members was $140, now $100! Nonmembers was $152, now $112!
Monday–Thursday, June 20–23, 1:00–4:00 p.m.
Teachers: Amanda Blake and Stacey Callaway

To register for this camp with the new price, please contact JC Bigornia at 214-922-1822 or JBigornia@DallasMuseumofArt.org
Website with general summer camp info (please note that the new price and age group is not listed in the brochure):
http://www.dm-art.org/Family/SummerCamps/index.htm

Also: the Dallas Museum of Art will be hosting a free event for children on the autism spectrum and their families on Saturday, June 18. The Center for Creative Connections in the Museum will open two hours early for families to enjoy the space and to participate in a variety of activities. (I’ve been to one of these and they are excellent!)

Pre-registration for the event is required. For more info, visit www.dm-art.org.

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