If you are concerned that a student does not understand your directions, ask him/her to repeat them back to you or to a peer.

This website is dedicated to promoting inclusive schooling and exploring positive ways of supporting students with autism and other disabilities. Most of my work involves collaborating with schools to create environments, lessons, and experiences that are inclusive, respectful, and accessible for all learners.

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31 Ways to Enjoy an Inclusive Summer

Posted on June 26, 2015 in Inclusion

Summer is finally here, and I am looking forward to having time to share content through my site. As an easy way to get started, here is a list I created last summer to help families generate ideas for activities that children with a wide range of needs, interests, and abilities will find accessible and enjoyable. Feel free to add you own and keep this list growing!!

  1. Tell stories around the fire. Use AAC device for catch phrase/sound effect/punch line. Let everyone try!
  2. Rain? Try a big family puzzle. Turn taking, talking & eye-contact are not necessary & everyone works at his/her own pace.
  3. Head to a drive-in. No need to use quiet voices & those needing to move around during the film can do so.
  4. Remember headphones during fireworks or watch from a distance to make the night comfortable for all.
  5. Play audiobooks on road trips; those who cannot access books independently get to “read” & the family gets to share a story.
  6. Take pics of a fun day & assemble into a book. Kids can take snaps, write captions, etc. Read & repeat to build fluency!
  7. Try a kayak, paddle boat, or bicycle built for two. It’s more fun than a solo trip & a buddy provides support.
    Kaya

  8. Create a ritual that everyone can look forward to & participate in: an after-dinner stroll, a weekly visit to the park, etc.
  9. Invite friends over for non-competitive games like scavenger hunts, charades, and sidewalk chalk exhibitions.
  10. Let everyone in the family suggest one NEW summer activity; one that is accessible & fun for all.
  11. Get a museum pass & cut visits short when it is too crowded/overwhelming. Make several short visits vs. one long one.
  12. Create collaborative art-make a mural on a sheet, create photo collages, or paint an old chair.
    Kids Painting

  13. Dive in! For many, the pool/lake/ocean is the ultimate “accessible environment” & enjoying the water is THE quintessential summer experience.
  14. Make gluten-free s’mores
  15. Play board games that build literacy skills-Scrabble, Boggle, Story Cubes, etc.
  16. Play board games that build math skills-Pay Day, Yahtzee, Candyland, Monopoly, Sorry, Connect 4, Tangrams, Rummikub, etc.
  17. Connect w/ pen pals-learn about the world & build lang/literacy skills. Writing to a pal is also a great excuse to try new assistive tech.
  18. Have some sensory fun–dig in the sand, play in the mud, or make water balloons!
  19. Suggest skits, backyard performances & improv games. Lots of fun & helpful in developing communication, social, & literacy skills.
  20. Cook or bake something new and let everyone take part. Use a switch to mix/blend if needed.
  21. Dive into your child’s fascinations-learn about Minecraft, read vampire books, ask new questions about One Direction, etc.
  22. Find a summer activity (jump rope, kick-the-can, tag); develop many possible adaptations/versions as possible.
  23. Ride around your city on your child’s favorite type of transportation-bus, train, subway, or pedicab. See the sights & relax.
  24. Camp in the backyard. Save $ and don’t worry about forgetting meds, special foods, or adaptive equipment!
  25. Take a day trip & build background knowledge. A trip to a pond to learn ecosystems? To the state capitol to learn about government?
  26. Give kids odd jobs to earn spending $; find chores that teach new skills, if possible (organizing, counting, cooking).
  27. Learn a new card game. Use pool noodles as card holders for little hands or for those needing support.
    TMMC ORGANIZATION helping hand

  28. Play some mini golf & give different roles to different players-putting expert, cheerleader, scorer, etc.
    Mini Golf

  29. Look into inclusive summer camp experiences like those promoted by the National Inclusion Project
  30. Shoot silly videos. This is an easy way to let everyone be expressive & create in their own ways (with or without words)..video serves as a keepsake too.
  31. Volunteer (e.g., bring treats to an animal shelter). Some kids who get a lot of support love the chance to provide it.

    Comments

    1. From Tina on 14 Jul 2015

      Visit the library!

      Librarians are learning how to include ALL kids! Libraries are less quiet than they used to be. They are sure to have books on kids’ interests and have clubs to keep them reading all summer! Some libraries even have programs for kids and teens with autism!

    2. From Tina on 14 Jul 2015

      that being said, if you have recommendations about picture books or kids books featuring autism, please let me know or do a post on this! I love yours and want to get more… there are many books out there both good and bad…

    3. From Paula Kluth on 20 Aug 2015

      Hi Tina–
      Forgive me– I just noticed your post. I like Ian’s Walk as it helps kids see that one way is not always the right way– and of course– Todd Parr– It’s Okay to Be Different! For older kids, I love Freaks, Geeks & Asperger Syndrome!