Autism and Summer
I have an autistic grandson, and I know that he likes to know what is happening and when it is happening. He likes a schedule and he needs to be busy. So when summer holidays come along and school is out, it is no different for him. For a lot of kids, it means sleeping in, playing games and eating when they feel like it. It means doing what they want and when they want (within reason of course). And that is important for kids to do. Autonomy is so important.
Autistic children are often used to having their days planned for them and they get restless if anything changes. So it is a good idea to plan activities for summer that can be looked forward to and anticipated.
Now, as with all children, they have their favourite things and they begin to be attracted to activities that they are particularly good at and that they have a passion for. Often, when their hours and days are planned, that does not often take place. So as a parent, I used to look for activities that were different and diverse, and I would offer the opportunity to join and learn. It is important that kids are allowed to explore for themselves and decide what takes their fancy.
There are many opportunities for children in the summer to join a camp or workshop. Our recreation centres and community centres have a plethora of different things happening especially during the summer months. So summer is a great time to offer your little ones the chance to learn and play.
I did some exploring myself and I found art classes, adventure camps, archery lessons, basketball camps, biking camps, language camps and even dancing and horse back riding classes. I just went looking again and I found many more summer activities for children. The list is endless and it makes me wish I could be a kid again. The opportunity to learn something new could be something that they would never forget and would look forward to participating in again.
Summer is also a time to connect with our children and get up to date on what has been going on and what has happened that we may not have known about and how we can help with any difficulties that our children have been dealing with. That is something that we should try to maintain throughout the year, but sometimes everyone gets busy and it is put on the back burner. Let’s try not to have a back burner, though.
As I mentioned before, routine is important particularly with special needs children. And if you are home with your children, keep the housework to the bare essentials. Keep things simple and make fun at home. Pick your battles and avoid the stress of over thinking and over controlling. I always believe that there is no right and there is no wrong, there is only what works and what doesn’t. These are just suggestions from a grandma with experience.
Enjoy your summer!
by Janet Robinson