On the Horizon 07/10/13

Welcome to "On the Horizon"

Issue 225: Beating the Summer Blues, Part 1: Simple Variations to Summer Routines

On the Horizon is an award winning weekly ezine for parents of children with developmental disabilities who want simple, effective strategies to reduce stress, support their child’s development, and improve quality of life for the whole family.

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  • A Note from Dr. Beurkens
  • Feature Article: Beating the Summer Blues, Part 1: Simple Variations to Summer Routines
  • Ask the Horizons Team
  • Upcoming Events
  • Recommended Resources

Hi Everyone!

I hope those of you in the United States enjoyed the holiday last week! We had fun at parades, fireworks, and the family picnic. I’ve enjoyed hearing many of the kids at the clinic talk about the fun things they did to celebrate. Summertime makes me realize how much more relaxed the kids are as compared to the school year. Definitely a needed time to slow down and enjoy less stress and demands.

The feature article this week is perfect for those of you looking for some ways to change things up this summer. When the kids are home all the time it can make for some long days. Courtney provides some ideas to keep things interesting while helping your kids stretch their comfort zones and become more flexible. The Q&A this week is about helping kids who are fearful of dark rooms.

Have a great rest of the week!

Looking to the horizon,

Beating the Summer Blues, Part 1: Simple Variations to Summer Routines

By Courtney Kowalczyk, M.Ed.

Family at summertimeSchool has been dismissed now for a couple of weeks, and families may start becoming restless with the lackadaisical days of summer. For many families, this is the time of year to unwind from the business of the school year and enjoy each other’s company. But for other families this time of the year can become very stressful, not knowing what to do with the kids while they are home from school.

Some of you may be feeling overwhelmed by what you can do with your children each and every day during the summer months. Here are a few simple strategies and variations that you can add to your day to make it fresh and new for everyone at home.

Click here to read the rest of this article…


My son is scared of going into dark rooms. How can I help him see that there is nothing to be afraid of?

-Mom in Minnesota


This can be an issue for many kids at one time or another in their development. Start out by walking into the room together. Give him one small role this first time, such as opening the door. Once he has one small positive experience surrounding his fear, you can increase your expectations of what he will do the next time. For instance, if he opened the door the first time maybe the next time he reaches in and turns on the light. Each time he has a success you have something to spotlight as a positive surrounding his fear, and you can encourage him to go one step further. The next step may be that you are still with him but he opens the door, reaches in to turn on the light, and then steps in first. The next thing you know you can be standing in the hallway several steps away while he takes these steps. Before long he’ll be walking in on his own without even thinking about it!

Talking to him about what scares him and what he thinks will happen can be helpful as well. Once you understand what is going through his mind, you can help him replace it with a different thought processes. For instance, he may be thinking, "something scary could be in that room and I can’t tell because it’s dark inside." You can help him replace that thought with something like "nothing scary has ever been in that room, why would there be now?" 

Good Luck!

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Autism and Other Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Practical Strategies to Improve Processing

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