In Metro Atlanta, we’re quickly approaching that time of year when school is out and summer fun is in! For many kids, two unstructured months is an exciting, much-anticipated break. For kids with autism and other special needs, the change in routine can be uncomfortable and hard to handle. Parents, we’re here to help! From our ABA therapists, here are a few suggestions and reminders for an easy transition from school to summer with all the structure your family needs to enjoy the season.
Establish a Routine
Routines can lower stress for children and adults alike. Children with autism and other special needs benefit from knowing what comes next and what to expect. So many of our routines are provided for us throughout the school year – wake up time, school, extracurricular activities, etc. Over the summer, it’s important to establish your own schedule to avoid hours of unstructured time or unexpected surprises.
As you set out to establish your summer routine, here are a few ideas:
- Block off time in your daily schedule in one to two hour increments, similar to what your child sees during the school year.
- Whenever possible, allow your child to participate in the planning.
- Include reading or other academic practice to hold onto those hard-earned skills.
- In addition to a daily schedule, consider creating a monthly calendar so your child can see and prepare for camps, vacations, and even back to school time.
For more tips, check out our blog on transitioning to a new routine the ABA way.
Continue your ABA Therapy
It’s great to maintain a few activities in your kiddo’s schedule that span between the school year and the summer. Whether it’s Friday pizza night or a standing Tuesday afternoon playdate, holding on to a few anticipated activities will ease the transition when so much else is changing. To continue developing new skills, ABA therapy is also an important routine to continue throughout the summer.
Remember: You’re Exactly the Parent your Child Needs
Say it out loud: “I’m exactly the parent my child needs!” Changes in the family routine, potential unstructured time, and all the extra planning that’s required for the summer is a lot. We all have tough days, and if you’re the parent of a child with autism or other special needs, you might have a few more tough days than others. But even when things are hard, even when you make mistakes (We all do! We’re human!) please know that you can and are doing it. You’ve got this! And if you’re in need of a little extra encouragement today, we’ve got you.
From Innovative Behavior Options, we’d like to wish everyone a healthy and happy summer!