Summer is upon us and as an educator I look forward to my time off but I often sense apprehension from my student’s parents about all the extra unstructured time they will have with their kids. The lack of the school year routine can reek havoc with our kids with autism who thrive with consistent structure and instruction.
I think summer is a wonderful time for families to introduce all kinds of new learning activities to their kids. It is important to not jump into too many new activities and overwhelm the child but adding in swimming lessons or extra trips to the park can have many benefits for kid’s language and social skills.
One way to keep a child with autism on track during the summer and really all year is to implement some “school” type activities during their day at home. Some of my families have reported great success with having morning and evening “circle time” to start and end the day like we do at school. Also, having a schedule for the day that indicates what activities are going to be happening that day can help a child with autism anticipate what the day will hold. Before the end of the school year, ask your child’s teacher for copies of some of the songs they do in class so you can play them at home or in the car.
Most importantly, try to relax and have fun! We teachers need a break to relax and rest our brains and I bet your child does too!