Summer is officially here!
Along with the joy of having concluded another school year, however, comes the challenge of coping with the loss of structure the school year provides.
“Five ways to help your child with autism cope with summer’s relaxed schedule “ (Washington Post, July 7, 2014) lists the following tips for parents of kids with autism provided by Lauren Kenworthy, the director of the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at Children’s National Medical Center, Washington D.C.
- Use a calendar to label “typical” summer days, weekends, vacations and holidays. Then create a “typical day” schedule that follows the school schedule as much as possible in terms of lunch time and breaks.
- Talk to your child about having a Plan A, but also a Plan B in case things don’t work out. For example, if you’re planning to go to the pool, tell him that if a storm comes up or the pool is closed, you might do something else, and that is your Plan B.
- Avoid developing bad habits. It can be tough to stick to a schedule during the summer, when you just want to relax and let go a little bit, but the more you can keep to a routine for meals and sleep, the more well-regulated your child is likely to be.
- Recognize the warnings. It’s important to know the signs that your child is getting overloaded and remove him from challenging situations before a meltdown.
- Keep things positive, always. With any child, it’s more effective to reward good behavior than to punish bad behavior. Praise your child four times for every one time you need to correct something.