Autism and Summer Transition
Summer vacation is nearly here! For most parents, it's a time to catch their breath and take a break from the daily grind. For parents raising children with autism or other special needs, summer time isn't always so carefree.
The school-to-summer transition for a special needs child can be a bumpy ride. Even though summer has fewer demands, the "change of scenery" can have a dramatic effect on your child's emotional functioning as they settle into their new schedule.
Children thrive with structure, but for kids with special needs, and autism in particular, it is an absolute necessity. Providing structure with less demanding activities keeps the peace (routine), but also gives children many new learning and social opportunities where they can be successful. Planning is key to a successful summer transition. Some local options for special needs camps include:
- Warren County Special Needs Bike Camp
- Cincinnati Center for Autism Summer Services
- Springer's Adventures in Summer Learning
- Drake STEM Science Camps
- American Camping Association - Directory for special needs camps nationwide
Giving your child their own color-coded summer calendar (visual schedule) can help eliminate transition anxiety. Your child will know what they're doing, when and where. Best of all, kids can take responsibility for knowing their schedule. There are many free calendar pintables online. Summer down time and relaxation are still in the offing. Include down days (freedom days) on their calendars. The day to leave for an out-of-town-vacation is NOT the day after school lets out...no matter how thrilling the destination may be! It's best to wait a few days so everyone can decompress before hitting the open road.
Peaceful transitions are possible; they just take a little planning. Wishing you and yours a very happy and safe summer!