Summer is around the corner and is the favorite time of kids worldwide with leisure time, swims in the pool, ice pops, and late mornings. For children with ASD, it brings its own challenges and issues. Being used to a regimen, suddenly being without one may throw a child off-balance. Therefore to ensure that the child, the family, and other stakeholders have a great summer, preparation is important. We have collated some suggestions for the same to help you make this summer the best ever.
Below are some suggestions on how to ease the transition to summer break:
Prepare and use a summer daily schedule. As children thrive best in an environment of structure, routine, and familiarity, even with schools being closed for the summer break they should not be deprived of the same. You need to start preparing them in advance for the changes in the routine and keep reinforcing the same. Implement a daily schedule that factors in ample “me time” for the family members and the child. In the schedule should be timelines that need to be followed. A visual dictionary can also be curated that will guide the child on the schedule for the summer holidays.
Schedule extra time for each activity / task and also for the transition between two tasks. These will ensure that the day proceeds smoothly. The child is not stressed / overwhelmed by the pace or the transition. Let the schedule be gentle on the child just as a brook meanders its course. “Me time” has to be in ample blocks to get the desired results.
Use visual tools to get the message across. Children on the spectrum since they respond to visual tools / aids better, use the concept of Social stories to enable the child to comprehend certain situations /scenarios via a visual format. Curate your own stories ( alone or with the help of others ) that explain the schedule created for the summer. Or if you plan to travel or have people visit, these should also be incorporated into these visual stories.
Schedule play dates. Playtime with peers is important for the social development of all children. It’s important to keep up the interaction even if it is “ break time “. The same can be achieved by actively reaching out to the parents of children in the same class / school / therapy center to schedule regular play dates. These play dates have to be supervised.
Prepare your child for the warm weather and sun. Some children may have issues with the rise in temperature and the sun’s rays. Keep them indoors between 12 PM to 5 PM. Schedule outdoor activities accordingly. Wearing light, loose and natural fabrics is a good solution plus getting them hydrated well. Sunscreen is ideal for wearing while playing outdoors but some kids do not take well to it because of sensitivity. Note – Distract the child while someone applies the sunscreen on the exposed parts of the body.
Let summer break be a joyous occasion for all concerned. Preparation, patience, humor, and love is the key to making each day count.