The summer is heating up! Currently River City Inclusive Gymnastics has six classes running. We have four class options for kids, a Wednesday morning adult class, and a Wednesday evening class for teens. It is never too late to register. Take a look at some recent photos and videos of our athletes improving their balance, coordination, strength and mobility.
Keeping with my “lessen the electronic time” ideas, here are some of the “old time” classic games I use to play growing up. See how many you can add to your kids days in the coming weeks. Some are able to be played indoors for the rainy days too.
Did you know that 50% of the population does not know how to swim and ten people drown every single day? Drowning is the number one cause of accidental, injury related death in children under the age of four. It ranks number two for children under the age of fourteen. Summer is here and drowning accidents are happening in our own backyard.
For some extra perks in reading, the list below will share all kinds of programs being offered. I have found in years past, that they will modify for your child. I shared that our son could not reach all of the goals set, but did a portion, and he was thrilled with to have a reward.
Summer vacation might sound blissful after a packed school year, especially if your child struggles with academics or doesn’t enjoy the daily pressures of the classroom. Unfortunately, all that freedom can be overwhelming to many kids, and those with learning disabilities often have trouble making a smooth transition out of the school routine and into the new reality of life on summer vacation.
1. Wear your sunglasses.
Sunglasses are more than a fashion statement. They actively block dangerous UVA and UVB rays.
UV damage adds up over time, so the sooner you begin protecting your eyes, the better, even if you’re in your teens or early adult years.
Doing so may reduce risks for pterygium (a benign growth), cataract, age‐
related macular degeneration and uveal cancer (similar to skin cancer). A 2009
survey by the American Optometric Association found that one in three adults are
unaware of the eye health risks of spending too much time in the sun without
proper protection. Just 29% of parents say they make sure their children wear
sunglasses while outdoors. So make sure children are protected. Not only will it
protect their eyes today, but it will teach them good eye health for tomorrow.
2. Wear your sunscreen.
And your hat. Too much sun exposure damages the delicate
skin around your eyes causing everything from wrinkles to skin cancer. Keep your
eyes beautiful by using proper sun protection.
3. Swim without contacts.
Water and contacts do not mix. The best way to protect
your eyes from eye infections brought on by exposing contacts to water and
improper cleaning is to leave them out when hitting the pool or beach. If you feel
you need your contacts even while swimming, be sure to wear your goggles and to
properly clean your contacts with cleaning solution after your swim. A little care
now can prevent eye infections later.
4. Drink your water.
And bring some tears with you. Your eyes need moisture. Being
well hydrated helps keep your eyes moist. If your eyes do not make enough tears,
you may suffer from dry eyes. This condition is quite common but can by
exacerbated when out in the sun and wind. While it may sound strange, people with
dry eye may find their eyes water quite a bit. This is because the eye is responding
to the irritation of this condition. Dry‐eye sufferers may find that they feel like they
cannot keep their eyes open for very long. They may also find their eyes feel more
uncomfortable after reading or watching television. If you think you might suffer
from dry eyes, throw a bottle of artificial tears (available at any local drug store) in
your beach bag and keep your eyes feeling fresh and comfortable.
5. Be prepared for some sand to fall.
Between kids, wind, and towels, it is inevitable
that a piece of sand will land (“Aggghhh!”) right in your eye. When that happens, it
pays to be prepared. The first rule of thumb is to not rub it. Rubbing increases the
risk of the sand scratching the cornea, which is extremely painful. Next, begin
irrigating the eye with water to flush the piece of sand out. Tilt your head back,
using your index finger and thumb open your eye wide, and flush the eye with a
gentle but forceful stream of water. A sports‐cap water bottle works extremely well,
or a plastic water bottle with a hole poked into it. If neither of these is available, use
whatever fresh water you have. If the eye continues to pain you, go to an
ophthalmologist to make sure you have not scratched your cornea.
6. Keep an eye on the ball.
Baseballs, tennis balls, Frisbees, and volleyballs are all part
of summertime fun, but be careful to not throw them near anyone’s eyes and be sure
to wear the appropriate protective eye wear. If someone does get hit in the eye with
a ball, apply ice immediately. If vision seems affects or worse, go to an
7. Enjoy the fireworks, but leave the displays to the professionals and watch from a
Each Fourth of July, thousands of people are injured from using
consumer fireworks. Children are the most common victims of firework accidents,
with those fifteen years old or younger accounting for half of all fireworks eye
injuries in the United States. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety
Commission, more than 9,000 fireworks‐related injuries happen each year. Of these,
nearly half are head‐related injuries with nearly 30 percent of these injuries to the
eyes. One‐fourth of fireworks eye injuries result in permanent vision loss or
blindness. Enjoy the holiday but leave the fireworks to the professionals and do not
Chilled cucumbers or tea bags applied over the eyes works wonders in
calming and refreshing tired eyes after a long day at the beach.
Nothing is more important to your eyes than sleep. Closing your eyes acts like
a bandage to your eyes and gives your eyes time to heal from the typical wear and
tear of a normal day. So take a siesta. You’ll wake with eyes that are brighter,
fresher, and rested.
10. Schedule your yearly eye appointment now.
Kids need to have an eye exam every
year for school, so when you are scheduling their exams take the time to schedule
one for you, too. Prevention is the greatest way to care for your eyes and ensure you
maintain healthy vision. That means going to an eye doctors (either an optometrist
or ophthalmologist) once a year and getting your eyes dilated every other year.
Getting your eyes dilated allows your eye doctor to look inside your eye and catch
any eye disease and treat it before it becomes a problem.
Camp Baker summer program for children and adults with disabilities focuses on fun
It is hard to believe that when Quarese, now 19, first began attending Camp Baker years ago, he was shy and introverted.
Especially since nowadays he says what he enjoys most about camp is talking to the staff, and making friends with them.
Quarese also enjoys other Camp Baker activities including horseback riding; boating at Pocahontas State Park; and participating in the weekly talent show.
Summer overnight sessions for 2017 for adults with disabilities ages 18 and up are: June 18- June 23; June 25- June 30; July 16 – July 21; July 23- July 28; July 30- August 4; August 6- August 11; and August 13- August 18, 2017.
Two overnight camp sessions for children with disabilities ages 6 to 17 will be held on July 2-July 7, and July 9 – July 14, 2017.
One weekly session of overnight camp is $900 or 120 Medicaid Waiver Hours. There are also day camp sessions available for $450 a week or 44 Medicaid Waiver Hours. For more information about Camp Baker, call (804) 748-4789 or visit richmondarc.org.
For Quarese, attending summer camp has been beneficial. “He’s come out of his shell,” said one ARC staffer, adding that Quarese also enjoys swimming in the camp pool and shooting hoops at the basketball court. For him, Camp Baker offers fun and friendship.
And if he didn’t have the option to attend? Quarese says he’d probably “stay home.”
Writing is an activity that involves many fine motor skills, and for children with handwriting struggles, holding the pen, forming letters and writing on the line are all challenges. Children with learning difficulties often struggle with writing proper spacing and letter formation. Sensory activities can help children practice and improve fine motor activities for better handwriting. As these activities feel like playtime, the children will not be aware that they are also improving their skills.
I cannot believe the school year is almost over. In just a couple more weeks the kids will be on summer break. While this traditionally means more time to relax, enjoy each other’s company and make some new memories, it also means increased anxiety and confusion for children with special needs, especially those diagnosed with Autism. This is understandable since they did spend the last 9 months on a specific schedule that allowed them to know what to expect for the day. When school ends, many students with Autism have a hard time knowing what to do and what to expect which leads to anxiety and an increase in challenging behaviors. Luckily there are a few things you can do to not only help your child cope during this “time-out” phase but, also help them learn some new skills for the next school year.
Come up with a list of things to learn about and discover for the summer. When I say this I don’t mean pulling out the textbooks and worksheets but, rather working together to find some answers to top questions. Looking it up on Google or YouTube is a nice laid back way of finding your answers. I also like checking out my local library for some videos and books on the topics. Last summer my 10-year-old put on his list, “How is soap made” so we took some time one day to find out. We also learned about the world’s longest rollercoaster, the Gold Rush, and how to make homemade Play-Doh. The added bonus was also finding videos and directions that showed us how to make our own homemade versions.
Make a summer schedule. Routine is very important for our children on the Autism Spectrum and for those that struggle with organization. A simple solution is to make schedules for the day. Sit down with your children and decide which activities you will participate in during the day. Then put them in an order. Remember to explain the schedule is tentative for outdoor activities such as going swimming or bike riding because summer storms can happen at any time. To help with disappointments try having a couple of back-up plans to quickly take the place of the outdoor activity such as watching a movie, doing a puzzle together or playing a game. Letting your child write or decorate the schedule helps them feel more in control of the situation and makes the transition process a little easier.