Four Tips to Make the Rest of your Summer Fun and Successful8/10/2020 By Kaci Cart
Children with autism thrive in environments with routines and structure. The thought of your daily routine changing can be a bit overwhelming. However, summer can be a time to explore new things and introduce more flexibility into your child’s life.
With summer winding down, you might find yourself wondering what you can do to maximize your time with your child. Keeping these steps in mind will help you and your family make the most of these final weeks of summer.
1. Talk about ideas and goals with your child.
Start by prompting your child to think about how they’d like to spend their time before you engage in an activity.
For example, are there…
- specific activities they would like to try this summer before the transition back to school?
- any projects or crafts they’ve seen on YouTube and want to try at home?
- new places they want to explore in nature?
- any books or a series they’d like to read?
This will give your child time to think about what they might like to do, and helps them to have some autonomy in choosing their activities (within reason, of course!).
2. Consider using a daily visual schedule.
Recreating a visual schedule at home like what they use at school or at their day program can be helpful and comforting for your child. Make sure they can easily see and access the schedule throughout the day.
Using icons or images for tasks helps children who cannot read understand and interact with their schedule. Keep the schedule fun and flexible! Starting this now will also aid in the transition back to school or a school-like schedule.
For more on how to use a visual schedule at home click here.
3. Have some fun with sensory play.
Although it can get messy, sensory play can be so important for children with autism. One tip for using sensory play at home is to contain it by placing the materials in a plastic tub or bin. Here are a few ideas for sensory play at home:
- Water and water toys
- Dry beans or rice
- Water beads
4. Get outside!
There are plenty of ways to stay active and explore the outdoors:
- Go on a nature walk through your neighborhood and see how many kinds of flowers your child can spot.
- Invest in a plastic or inflatable pool for your backyard for water play.
- Do some old fashioned digging in the dirt!
- Make mud pies after a rainy day.
- Find nearby parks with trails for the family to hike.
If your child is already receiving Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services, talk with their Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) about ways to incorporate their current treatment goals into their daily schedule to make the most of the remainder of your summer break.
You will be surprised at the simple things you can do throughout your day that will greatly impact your child’s progress towards their ABA goals. If your child is not receiving ABA services currently, the end of summer can be a great time to start!
Remember summertime is a chance to slow down and enjoy the simple things in life. Not every day will go as planned, and that is completely normal and okay! At this point, your summer probably looks much different than what you had in mind. However, there is still time to make wonderful summer memories with your child.
With these tips, you will be able to help your child continue to learn and grow throughout the summer, while still having fun. This will allow for an easier transition for your child, when it comes to returning to school this fall.