Summer with Autism

Summer with Autism Yo, Mick here – the canine doing the happy rub-my-back dance!

Summer vacation started today!


Summer means a lot to Red and me – both good and not-so-good.

We mostly get to share some wonderful times but for part of the summer we’re not together because Red flies to see his dad and the airlines have not yet accepted my family member status. I have to stay behind with mum; she needs me too.

Mostly summer vacation is wonderful but for a boy like Red with autism (or a girl too) it can mean some challenges.

Different routines and unpredictability can wreck havoc for someone on the autism spectrum resulting in less fun for the whole family and their friends.

Mums and Dads; take care of your little ones and continue to support them in the manner you do so well.

Give lots of heads up for transitions (or not – sometimes its best to give short ones… you know your child best), practice patience during the transition, know that different challenges will likely arise, keep supports such as medications etc. in place and did I mention practice patience yet?

Yup, plenty of patience is required.

Give some serious thoughts into what’s expected of your child and other family demands during the summer. Visitors, vacations, and just the most mundane activities can upset a working routine.

Summers can be very stressful.

Make adjustments and add supports and strategize ahead with contingencies.

New issues are also likely to arise as your child matures and changes.

Such challenges as what to do when someone near and dear can’t tolerate the smells at the pool this year and last was just fine are not out of possibilities.

You may want to continue some supports that the schools use such as a calendar and schedule to help you all to add structure and some semblance of predictability to summer vacation.

Remember, that undesired behavior is likely a reaction to not being able to control one’s environment (feels like not being able to scratch that itchy spot on your back – or even worse!).

While it may not be proper for a child with autism to “control” their environment, most kids (even neuro-typical) are less anxious when they recognize there is structure and a plan they can rely on.

When scheduling activities it is important to also include some down time to regroup, recharge and just be! This is a good practice for everyone, not just those on the autism spectrum.

Enjoy your summer – that’s what its for and remember to practice what works for you and yours to rock out in total summer bliss.

Irene Carroll

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