School is out and summer vacation is in full swing. For most families, this means tons of free time and relaxation. But for parents of autistic children, the change in daily schedule presents some pretty hefty challenges. Instead of having their days filled with relatively predictable events, your child has to adjust to an often less structured routine. Though it’s easy to give into frustration, there are a few simple things you can do to make the transition to summer that much easier for your child.
Make Extra Therapy Appointments
Free time means you have space in your schedule to take advantage of additional therapy sessions. These can be occupational therapy, therapeutic horseback riding, and anything else your autistic child needs to be their best selves. If you’re busy with work, look for day camps specializing in autistic youth to help fill in the gaps in their schedule.
Create a Visual Schedule or Planner
For many kids, it can be tough to know what’s coming up throughout the day, especially when that schedule changes from day today. The best way to keep them involved and help them understand what to expect is by creating a visual schedule or planner. Use clipart, photos you take, and any other visual cues that your child identifies with. Arrange these into a calendar of sorts. If you’re tech-savvy, you can do this on the computer. But if you’re not, an over-the-door shoe rack with clear plastic pockets works just fine. Insert the photos into each slot to indicate a schedule.
Brace for Uncomfortable Situations
Your child craves stability and a clear schedule. Without school, that schedule will change and it will change daily. Prepare yourself mentally as best you can. No parent will have perfect days all summer. Meltdowns will happen and issues will come up. It’s a fact of life and the sooner you accept that every day won’t be ideal, the better prepared you’ll be to handle anything your autistic kid throws your way. Even if that means bracing for a meltdown or finding new and interactive ways to keep them entertained when an activity gets canceled.
Schedule an Appointment
Summer can be challenging for parents with autistic kids, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Schedule an appointment today and let our experienced therapists arm you with the tools and techniques you need to help your child have a fantastic summer this year.