By Regina Nicolas, Physical Therapist and Sensory Integration Specialist
with Ronni Rowland, Writer
As summer comes to a close, it’s the perfect time to reflect on all the fun we had! Summer Program 2019 was full of laughs – and learning – with our dedicated team of therapists, special educators, and interns.
Some highlights of the summer included the always popular weekly water fun day, lots of yummy cooking, daring experiments with gravity (and eggs!), and a “fishy field trip” to Shanghai Ocean Aquarium!
We’d also like to share a few of the children’s wonderful successes (names have been changed):
Story 1: Abby
A few days before Abby started the Summer Program, Abby’s family tried to prepare her by saying, “Today is Friday, then Saturday and Sunday, and on Monday, you will go to school.”
At that time, she complained, and shouted, “School no!” and “I want play, I want swim”. On Monday morning, she was tired and not super eager to go to Summer Program, but she complied. When the van arrived, she was happy and said, “School” and jumped into the car.
After that, she was very happy every morning to go, and also happy when she arrived back home in the afternoon. During the weekend, her family said, “Today is Saturday, then Sunday and on Monday you go to school.” Abby replied, “I want school.” 😊
Feedback from the Parents:
I think Abby quite likes water activities, both swimming and going to the aquarium. She also learned some new songs that she likes to sing at home.
I guess the age spread in the Summer Program is wider than the normal class. She now pays more attention to boys and older kids compared to before. A few days ago, we had dinner with friends who have a 12-year-old son. Before, she wouldn’t pay attention to a boy his age, but now, she went over to him and asked him to play with her.
Being with other children and having lots of different activities clearly helps her to use up extra energy, because she is more relaxed and satisfied when she is at home in the evenings now.
Story 2: Calvin
At the beginning of the program, Calvin displayed an unwillingness to engage in social interaction. However, towards the end of summer, he started to speak to other children using their names – and with a smile!
In physical therapy, he gained muscle tone and became very engaged in the sessions, whereas on the first day, he refused to enter the room.
Feedback from the Parents
I think Calvin’s social interaction with therapists and other children showed the most improvement. He is now willing to actively listen to teachers and cooperate willingly. At the start, he did not want to engage with others and asked to be taken home.
He loved the swing in physical therapy, and toward the end of the program, he enjoyed sharing the swing with other children.
Story 3: Liz
Before attending the Summer Program, Liz sometimes showed little interest in activities. The summer program brought out her enthusiasm, and it was great to see her excited about going to the aquarium.
Liz also learned to adapt to taking a taxi. This was a big change for her and a great achievement, because she usually takes the school bus during term-time.
Hearing her parents say they pretended to be sea animals at home is also great feedback! It’s wonderful to know that the Summer Program gave Liz and her family some fun ideas to try together.
Feedback from the Parents:
Liz comes home in a happy mood every day and she is proud she can take a taxi now.
She was super excited to go on the field trip to visit the sea animals at the aquarium. We pretended to be all kinds of animals the day before the trip – penguins, seals, sharks, turtles, sand worms and more! She was having fun playing.