As a special needs parent summer is one of the toughest times of the year. With sensory sensitive kids there’s quiet a bit to worry about. For example, last summer Emmett wasn’t as mobile as he is now. Because of his increased mobility we face new challenges this year. Emmett is a climber and a runner. Open windows present a HUGE safety issue. Last year we were ok to drop the top sash down exposing the screen to allow for air flow. We don’t have nor can we afford air conditioning so window fans were how we survived last summer. We do have a old window air conditioner but it’s seen better days and doesn’t cool much of anything anymore and the noise it makes is deafening to the kids. Window fans won’t work this year as Emmett is very…………curious and resourceful. Honestly, Gavin has a hard time with his ceiling fan because to him it’s to loud and window fans or fans in general are the same way.
Summer is the time of year when doors and windows are open but if you have special needs kids that may not be possible, as is the case with us. Hopefully you have central air to stave off the heat but if you don’t you’ll have to figure out other ways of keeping the kids cool.
The heat can pose a problem as many kids with sensory issues don’t do well in the heat. Getting hot and sticky is something my kids struggle with. I’m not sure what exactly the sensory issue is but it’s definitely there. I’m uncomfortable in the heat so I can only imagine how they feel. Also some Autistic kids don’t seem to sweat either. Gavin is one of those kids. We are always having to make sure that he doesn’t overheat. He doesn’t regulate himself very well and like to wear long pants and sweatshirts ALL year. It’s rough because we have to make him uncomfortable to keep him from overheating.
I’ll need to figure out a way to work around this problem before the summer sets in. One option is bars on the windows. This would prevent any of the kids from falling out of an open window. I still have fire and rescue blood pumping through my veins and so I realize that bars on the windows also pose a SERIOUS safety issues in the event of a fire. The windows are used for egress and if they are inaccessible then we have a problem. It’s one of those “damned if you do damned if you don’t” kinda things.
One of the other problems my family faces is the neighborhood itself. We live in a borderline “not real bad but not real good” neighborhood. There are A LOT of “all day drinkers” around us. So at night people are fighting, yelling or just partying VERY loudly. My kids are very sensitive to this and frighten quiet easily. We literally spend most of our time inside the house because some of my neighbors are not very Autism Aware. They like to use words like ‘retard” in the same sentence as my kids. We have a fenced in yard but it doesn’t offer any type of privacy for my kids. We were supposed to get funding for a privacy fence to enclose most of the property but as with many things in our life it fell through. The only real fix for this is to move to an area that may be more special needs friendly. We also would ideally find a larger ranch style house so Lizze wouldn’t have to struggle with the stairs. this is one of the many things I pray for at night before I roll over and go to bed.
I imagine that many of you out there face the same or similar problems during the summer. We all have our crosses to bare I suppose. Hang in there and know that you aren’t alone.
-lost and tired