Happy summer from the FACT family to yours!

Your Child’s Rights to Accessing Summer Programs

Sometimes parents hear from summer camps and other programs that their child experiencing disability cannot be supported in that environment. Thanks to Disability Rights Oregon for providing this great information!


Past FACT Oregon Blogs about summer!

Summer for Ramona & Me

Utilizing Your Personal Support Worker This Summer

Nature has No Labels

Summer Camp and the “Dignity of Risk”

What I Did This Summer: Learning about Self, Social Justice, and Support

Summer Ideas Shared by FACT Oregon Staff & Families

  • A lot of families hire school paraeducators for the summer months! Local university job boards also have young people who are looking for part-time employment. We’ve hired people who were psych and social work majors who later went on to work in special education and disability-related fields.
  • We are on a tight budget this summer. We are planning to attend free lunch day as much as possible. We’re not even going for the lunch since my son gets most of his food and nutrition via g-tube, but we want to make friends and partake in some of the events they do at free lunch day!
  • We have several local churches around our house offering a vacation bible school program, and my son will be attending three of them this summer. His personal support worker [PSW] will be attending with him, but she knows to let him be as independent as possible and partake in all activities and engage with friends with as little interference as possible. I am updating his one-page profile for the vacation bible school volunteers!
  • We are planning weekly trips to the library. My goals are for the staff to know my son by the end of the summer, and for him to be able to navigate the library with his new wallet and library card with little help from me!
  • My son will finally be receiving his new AAC device at the beginning of the summer. We are going to plan three weekly outings where he will use his device out in community for highly motivating rewards! So far, we’re thinking the ice cream store, the library where you can rent movies, and the park!
  • My son will take golf lessons again; also, he hangs out with friends and swims a lot at his aunt’s pool.  
  • Kids Bowl Free – A lot of bowling alleys participate in this program during the summer, and you can also sign up PSW’s to go with the individual that experiences a disability and they bowl free as well.
  • Swimming at Mt Scott swimming pool (family swim time) – it has a reasonable entry fee. (Same for most parks and rec pools!)
  • We love Miniature Golf at Bullwinkles – we get free passes often with the library summer reading program.
  • We check out OMSI/ZOO/Children’s Museum passes from the local library!
  • Our PSW takes my son to the gym where we have a membership. His PSW has a letter that states that they work for my son, and they don’t have to pay to go in. Sometimes they just play basketball or go on the treadmill or swim in the pool.
  • Summer reading program through the local library!
  • Free summer movies and concerts at local park (lots of cities and towns have schedules posted!).
  • We like going to the local Farmers Market – shop for food, listen to music, have lunch and enjoy programs such as free cooking demonstrations.
  • The splash pad and water park is awesome any warm day!
  • Last year our son volunteered at a thrift store, and his PSW supported him during his shifts.
  • One of our son’s PSW’s was a school teacher who loved to get outdoors, so they went on day trips to local hiking trails and lakes.
  • Last year our son was old enough to be a junior counselor through our local community center, and his PSW would support him in that role.
  • We found PSW’s by asking people who were paraeducators and/or teachers if they wanted to support our son’s learning during the summer months.
  • Places like Oaks Park (amusement park in Portland) let PSW’s, parents, and caregivers in for free to support their children’s experience on the rides. Always ask!
  • When our son was younger and in an ABA program, he was able to attend during much of the summer, which was important because it kept a schedule and sense of routine in place. They also added in a number of summer field trips to make the time a little different from the school year.
  • Routine, routine, routine… Setting up a daily routine and a weekly schedule were a great way to let my son ease into a summer pace.
  • There are free events every day at our local library, and sometimes events in the evening. I add them to the calendar and invite grandparents or friends.
  • My kids will go to the free lunch in the park at least once a week with aunts and cousins.
  • Love the cheap movie matinees on weekends!
  • My daughter does 4-H, which is great in our rural community – inexpensive, lots of options and easy to modify!!
  • I create a meal and event picture calendar/schedule for my daughter as she needs a very concrete routine to thrive.
  • I ask teachers for ways to support learning at home during the summer and incorporate into the ever-critical ROUTINE!
  • I identified older girls as friends and natural supports for my daughter — with as-needed help from their mom (who works for school and has summers off).
  • We are Portland “Free For All” groupies — we follow the rock climbing wall around to different parks so much that the people who run it treat my kids like we are at a camp with them!
    • Rock Climbing Wall
    • Movies
    • Concerts
    • Free Lunch
    • Games and Crafts
  • Sunday Parkways in Portland is super fun – bike trailers and adaptive bikes are welcome, and you can go a few blocks and enjoy the parties in the various parks, or the whole 8+ mile route(s).
  • When the REI Rock climbing wall is open, they always has a good instructor at it – great way to learn!
  • Pet stores and the humane society are on our summer visit lists!!
  • The Food Banks get really quiet when the sun is out, but hunger is at one of the peak times because many working parents have to cut back on hours. We have bagged potatoes, made boxes (taping and stacking), and weighed pasta. The facility tour and workers there are so great! Expect plastic gloves, hats and aprons so it won’t work for everyone.
  • I used this article all of last summer!
  • We do a ton of camping, hiking, horseback riding, floating the river (both the slower parts on tubes and the more swift areas in our raft or drift boat) and of course Kayaking.
  • We signed up for a kayak camp at Tumalo Creek Kayak and Canoe to increase skills and try a little whitewater kayaking.
  • We attend the family network free summer events!!!!!!!
  • We signed up for several outdoor camps with Bend Park and Recreation District….some of which they will provide support for and some she will do just great without additional support.
  • We generally try to hit the museums and our county library has free passes you can check out so anyone can go for no charge.
  • We volunteer year around at our local homeless shelter, in the summertime we work in their garden and helping to keep their landscape up.
  • We signed up for Bike for Life camp in Redmond so she can learn to ride her bike more independently.
  • We have a young PSW who comes once a week and they do things with her friends like swimming, hiking, shopping, cooking, and just hanging out in all the “cool” places.
  • My daughter signed up for three cooking classes and a basic first aid/babysitting class.
  • There are free fishing days all over Oregon and Washington both on private and public lands.
  • My kids will be attending Camp Yakety Yak and Marylhurst Music Therapy Camp.
  • My son will be doing more scheduled outings while with his caregiver this summer while I am at work:  Monday: pool, Tue: candy store/park, etc…this will give him more structure to his days and what to expect.  Last summer was TOO unstructured for us!
  • We do a lot of hiking, camping, backpacking.  We spend most of our time outdoors.

And don’t forget about the second annual FACT Oregon All Ability Tri4Youth!

In this ALL abilities triathlon we are inviting kids to challenge their inner athlete to swim, bike and run in a drive for the finish line!  

WHO:  Athletes of ALL abilities

WHAT:  Tri4Youth is a youth triathlon that brings together athletes of ALL abilities to compete in a 50 yard swim, 2 mile bike ride and 0.5 mile run on a fully accessible course individually or together as a team with up to 3 friends.

WHEN:  Saturday, August 11th from 9am-12pm

WHERE: Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation Athletic Center in Beaverton, OR.

HOW: See our website for all the details on the race and be sure to check out the Tri4Youth FAQ for more details about how it works! The FACT team will work with your family to strategize on how your child will participate.

WHY: Because if you have a body, YOU are an athlete.

WHAT’S NEXT: Register at our Tri4Youth registration page ASAP!

Registration for both athletes and volunteers is open now!