1. I aim to get down to Leighton Beach in Fremantle on the 19th January for the ‘Let’s Go Surfing Day’. ‘Disabled Surfers WA’ takes people of all age ranges and different disabilities out onto the surf as well as providing fun activities on the beach also. If you miss the January date there are also events in Feb and March.
If you or your child does not have a disability you may like to volunteer! The organisation is looking for volunteers to help set up, cook sausages and help out generally on the day. It could be a fun morning of swimming for your kids plus they may love the added experience of helping out others in this way.
For those living on the East Coast of Australia or on holidays to Sydney check out the ‘Try Sail Days’ . There are events throughout January and the events are run by volunteers at the not for profit organisation ‘Sailors with disAbilities’.
For my USA readers I would recommend ‘Heart of Sailing’. I have been on this free sailing boat ride with my family and it was one of the highlights of our time living in San Diego. It is a not –for-profit that runs free sailing events catering for children and families with developmental disabilities.
2. My next pick for the summer is Scitech WA. If you get there as doors are opening the crowds may be a bit smaller! If I think it will be too crowded I try and take another adult with me just to be on the safe side. The good thing about Scitech is that it’s indoors and has air-con! My son adores the ‘hands on experience’, loves the puppet shows and the Planetarium show. There are also ‘special days’ on during the summer-I think the Marine Science Open Day on Jan 19 (for 7 to 12 years) looks like fun. I have also found the staff at Scitech to be helpful, patient, and understanding in relation to my son. After a few bad experiences at the hands of staff at other venues in WA, it is refreshing to know that when I need support from the staff at Scitech they come through for me (and my son) every time. I did hear on the grapevine that the staff at Scitech had done some Autism Training … and it shows!
3. Craft. My son loves dot-to-dot sheets and mazes. He also enjoys work books with alphabet and maths activities (a special interest for him). I buy the $5 workbooks from K-Mart and we have fun for hours! Also drawing faces, naming them, and adding some ‘googly’ eyes amuses us both no end. A packet of googly eyes cost about $2. My mummy mate of mine gave me this other awesome craft idea…its clear contact that been taped to the window sticky side facing the kids and then ‘decorated’. She assures me it kept her kids happy for ages. I can’t wait to try it!
4. Fishing. A friend invited us to meet her and her family at the river for some fishing. Fortunately she had all the equipment. I have never taken my son fishing before and I really didn’t think he would be that interested in it. I was wrong. He loved taking turns with my friends kids and was intrigued by the whole process of baiting and casting. Plus the kids all caught a few ‘blowies’ each which was enough to keep them engaged and then the blowies got thrown back in the water by the adults. We also took a frisbee down to throw around and with a bit of a picnic added in, it was a really lovely activity. Fishing is on the list of things to try again. Sometimes it pays off to branch out and try new things-you and your child/ren may find a new passion!
5. For a more low-key day when it’s too hot to be outside we go to see a kids movie, and combine it with a freshly squeezed juice from a juice bar, lunch in the food court and a little wander through the shops. My son lasts about one hour in a movie, sometimes a bit longer. But he knows the little routine now of juice, movie, shops, wander and it is quite nice and he can walk next to me pretty well. It has taken some practise to get to this point as he is really not a fan of big shopping centres. I am just careful not to push it by trying to go shopping for too many things myself when he is with me. I remain sensitive to ‘where he is at’ and if he is unable to walk next to me, or is not coping with the crowds and noise we bail. Most times however this activity can fill a hot morning quite nicely.
6. For keeping your kids cool (when the pool and the beach feels like work)….you just need a hose, a bucket and a trampoline! Maybe add it some water balloons too. Summer Gold!
7. Find a school holiday program. Every mum needs a break…summer holidays are long! Whether it’s a local vacation care or day care-if you child has a diagnosis they may be eligible for a support worker funded through Kids Australia (NOR) or Communicare (SOR). If you are having trouble finding an appropriate centre call the Children’s Services Officer at your local council, they will be able to advise you about what is available. If you are having trouble paying for your child to go to day care or vacation care call your LAC (if you have one) or call Carelink on 1800 052 222 and discuss (advocate for) your needs with them. If you are looking for a special needs school holiday program then contact Activ-Beckenham (SOR), Friends of Autism (NOR), Kalparrin at PMH or Community Vision (NOR) for different programs that they run during school holidays. Even if you can’t get into something for January-if you book right now…you may be glad you did come Easter!
8. If you are looking for a fun holiday events for siblings of special needs kids then Kalparrin also runs one day events that cater for siblings and are funded by Disability Services Commission.
9. Check out the Kids Guide Perth for free stuff to do. Plus the Nature Play WA website is pretty great too-some lots of free stuff to do-some may just need to wait for the cooler months though.
With only 4 weeks left until school goes back- I hope these ideas are helpful. Enjoy your summer.