Summer Video Tip: Summer Planning with Complex Kids

Summer is a great time to help complex kids learn and practice planning skills, mostly because they can be motivated to plan a day out to a park, or plan a day to an amusement park, or to go fishing, or whatever activity that they want to do.

Sit down with them and let them decide some of the things they want to do this summer. Then give them an opportunity to plan it out, to figure out how to get there, what the directions are, what the timing needs to be.

They may push back a little bit because it is hard for them. That's okay – remember that it's hard for them! But if you can use summer activities as an opportunity to engage your kids in the process of learning how to plan, they'll have some experience under their belt when it's time to plan for a school assignment!

Pay attention while you're doing this. Notice what's easy for them in this process and notice what seems to be more difficult for them – without judgment, of course! You'll probably begin to notice which areas of executive function seem to be more challenging for them than others.

For example, if your kids have no problem coming up with ideas about where to go, but are overwhelmed by figuring out how long it might take to get there, that's a clue that they struggle with "task management." If they are excited to go on a trip, but express concerns about what to pack, that might indicate a memory challenge. Don't judge it – just learn from it.

At the end of the day (or the summer, in this case!), you have a chance to actively engage your complex kids in the process of planning their lives – one of the most essential skills they can learn to be successful as adults.

Starting with the small things in the summer will help create a good foundation for your complex kids to start learning the basics of planning, and you can learn and build from there towards the more difficult things! Take it slow and steady – and remember: enjoy the ride!

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