Drs. Rebecca Hines and Lisa Dieker are starting Season 8 with ideas and suggestions for a fun summer. Please tune in today as our first episode as we kick off with our first episode of the summer as we explore fun options and practical tips to enjoy the summer!
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Lisa Dieker: [00:00:05] Welcome to Practical Access. I'm Lisa.
Rebecca Hines: [00:00:07] And I'm Rebecca Hinds. And Lisa, you ready to have fun this summer?
Lisa Dieker: [00:00:11] I am ready for fun, except. Oh, darn, kids. No, I'm just kidding. So, yeah, our theme is How to have fun. But we thought we'd kick it off by sharing some things maybe to put in place for fun, which sounds kind of weird. Would you agree, Becky?
Rebecca Hines: [00:00:27] Well, I think a lot of things you say sound weirdly so. Yes. I think our goal is to brainstorm some things that kids of all types and all abilities could enjoy over the summer. Maybe some ideas for thinking about how to support them.
Lisa Dieker: [00:00:44] Yeah, you know, and I often think about fun. You know, we happen to live in Orlando, so we'll we'll we won't do a commercial here. But I think you can imagine there's fun to be had. Coast to coast, from top to bottom. And yet one of the things that I think I learned early on is my own son, as you know, has Tourette's, really likes fun, but likes structure with fun. So those sound counterintuitive. But I learned really early on, like if we were going to go to Disney, not to tell him too soon, because then it was what day we go, where do we go and where do you go? If we're gonna go to Universal, what do we go? Can I write this right? But I would often say, you know, about a week in advance. But I would also give parameters like we're going to go really, really early because it's going to be hot that day or we're going to. So I think when you start thinking about structure in fun, they really do go together for all kids. But I think for kids with disabilities, especially thinking, you know, do I want to be there during the middle of day when it's 93 degrees and a 90% chance of a rainstorm? Or would I go early? Maybe we leave for a little bit, go somewhere else and come back from wherever we're going. Oh, we're going to the beach. You know, maybe your kid doesn't really like the texture of sand. You're going to take sandals. You know, again, predicting those things that are hard for kids with disabilities, I think is best structure and managing those expectations early. So those are just one of my quick thoughts, that fun is fun if we all have fun, not just the kid.
Rebecca Hines: [00:02:08] Yeah. And you know, Lisa, using some of those supports that a lot of parents use all the time and kids kids with with autism spectrum disorders or other disabilities that really look for that kind of order. Maybe your son wasn't someone who you use things like social stories regularly with, but it sounds like that's the type of thing you're recommending for Summer. And I know in my case, my my nephew, he really does well if there's a calendar because he's so excited to come and see me. So they, they have a calendar on the wall and every day they put a big X so he knows exactly when he's coming. Otherwise he's going to do exactly what you said. You know, every day am I going to have Becky's in my going at Becky's? And I think that if we can structure in really intuitive ways, I think that's a great start. Another thing, Lisa, that I'm going to also just speak from experience. You know, my nephew is significantly physically disabled and finding opportunities for him can be challenging for a lot of reasons. But I'm learning that there are supports in different areas that I didn't even know about. So in Daytona, for example. They have beach wheelchairs, which are really expensive to purchase, but they have them at their lifeguard station and you can schedule in advance to use one of the wheelchairs. But it's first come, first serve. Listeners aren't in Daytona, but it's the idea of reaching out to the places surrounding you because there may be unexpected supports available.
Lisa Dieker: [00:03:50] Yeah, it's funny that you say that. So I took my mother in law who was older and didn't have a disability, and I called SeaWorld and I said, Hey, what do you do? And they're like, Oh, we have a green parking zone. I'm like, What? They're like, Well, it's not a handicap, but if you park there, there's wheelchairs available and it's near the front of the park. And I was like, What a great thing. And I had a call they would have known. So again, I think, you know, not just disability, but in general, we do a lot of prepping to go somewhere, whether it be the beach or a park or what have you. But calling ahead or checking the websites for those accessible pieces can be really powerful. I have another one I think about and it sounds so the opposite of. But again, I don't mean to be this negative person, but it's this word meltdown. I don't know that you're the the behavior guru. I'll talk a little bit what I did, but I'm curious if you have any advice for those parents who happen to have a child with or without a disability, who you're on vacation or you're out for the day of fun and it just goes wrong.
Rebecca Hines: [00:04:52] Well, you're really putting me on the spot, Lisa. I was going to say that first and foremost, you have your mantra. And it's not a it's not that this is a problem or you're bad or you're having a meltdown, but it's the one thing you always say to cue your child to stop it. So something that I used to say is, let's sit down and say it very firmly. Well, taking my child and placing him or her on my lap. But at least this is, you know, socially appropriate behavior. And what I know and you know, is that the general public doesn't always understand for some of the parents who have kids with behaviors that are very challenging. It's misinterpreted when you try to work with your child in public. People judge, they think you're being mean, etc.. So first and foremost, I would I would come up with something that is your. Common phrase said, This child learns to understand exactly what you mean and it gives you a way to address something in public. That's my first, simplest thought.
Lisa Dieker: [00:06:13] So when I was at a name park and my son was in the clothing rack and I'm pulling it by his feet, people might have been judging me, and I get that. And yet, you know, your child is sometimes stronger than you, both in will and in physical. And I learned very quickly to never take on the physical. I think for us, what tended to work was distractions.
Rebecca Hines: [00:06:35] Well, I was just about to say that as well. Distraction is definitely going in advance, and planning for that distraction is critical. In our case, you know, yeah, we we do a quick zoom call. Let's you know, let's not too face time. Let's face time. And Cheryl, you know, it's an immediate distraction. So having that in your hip pocket, literally. I also agree.
Lisa Dieker: [00:07:00] Yeah. And I wouldn't. And for us, it was often a distraction that was counterintuitive to whatever tick or whatever issue. So if you're really want to look at the clothing, I'm like, Yeah, well, we're done with that. However, you know, it's really exciting. Look over there. There's there's blank. And so often that change of venue would be like and I wouldn't say we're done with that, but in my head I was like, I'm done with the clothing rack and you playing inside and swirling around, but trying to figure out what the next stage was to get there. But I also think what's really important is planning for meltdowns. And I found that if we took a little break and we took food and what I learned to do anywhere we went again, water was, you know, I bet you heard the scenario, which means I'm dying of thirst is like, ah, is not that bad, but it becomes that that very quickly. And I think that becomes a mantra in a child's mind. But I also learned to pack things for myself because I found if my blood sugar went down and my caffeine intake was down or whatever it might be, I became the problem more than he became the problem. So again, think about not only what does your child need, but what's your go to? You know, I'm a big licorice fan because sometimes when I'm done with, you know, a little chewing on licorice can make a difference. But whatever it is for you, I think we have to take care of ourselves and and the child.
Rebecca Hines: [00:08:15] Well, and that kind of brings me to my my closing thoughts on this. Lisa, think even more broadly about taking care of yourself. So for for parents, caregivers. We have to remember to plan for respect in any way we can. I know for myself because I have grown ish children now, I, I schedule them to stay with their cousin, to do things with their cousin for certain hours of the day. When I have my nephew with me because it is physically demanding, he has a lot of physical needs that are very demanding. And if I don't schedule in time for me to rest and literally physically rest and also get my energy back, then he's going to have a kind of a much crankier and Becky to deal with. But I do take advantage of the free respite around me, but I schedule it so that I also, just like we said about the kids. So I know even if I've had a tough morning, you know, changing clothes multiple times, doing different toileting things, trying to to shower. 18 year old, I know that at noon somebody is going to come and help me or at least give me a little break. So we have to think about ourselves and scheduling rest. But some people have reached out and they have services in their state to plan for formal respite. And that's great. Be sure and find out what you're eligible for.
Lisa Dieker: [00:09:58] So yeah, my last one is, you know, sets of expectations for your child to be a grown up. And I don't mean, you know, they're two and they've got to be 22. But honestly, any time we went anywhere, our constant mantra was, you know what? You're to watch us. We're always going to want to watch you, but your job is to watch us when we're having fun because otherwise none of us have fun if constantly I'm looking around. And so I love it. We took a friend to the theme park who also had a child with exception holidays and kept kind of the kid kept wandering off. My son says, my mom's not kidding you. She will leave you. And I was like, Well, I hope I didn't stress about, but at the same time, I love the fact he's like, It is your job to watch the adults because you're in a different place. And again, that's not just a bad practice for having fun. That's just a good practice in general to say, Look, this is a reciprocal, fun relationship. And so what's our expectation? The other expectation we always set is that we would get out of whatever we were doing the heat, the sun, whatever for about an hour and just have fun sitting and doing nothing. And I think managing that and saying, Oh, but we're here for 12 hours, we have to have 12 hours. And I'm the person who's always going, but knowing there's some shady spot, some regular place you go to create that routine of just sit and talk and listening. That was probably one of the best things we did in my whole life. And so sometimes fun doesn't have to cost money. Sometimes it could just be spending that quality time and doing it in a way that feels good for both of you. So this summer, have some fun, but I love your tip. Becky, take care of yourself in the process. Well, we thank you for joining us. You can send us a tweet at Excess Practical or post us your ideas for fun or questions you like to ask on our Facebook page. Thanks.