When parents plan ahead and schedule summer activities for their child, the transition can be easier for all involved. Although some children attend public school, they might have an option to attend summer school at the same place or a nearby school. Most of the private schools offer summer school, camps or social skill group activities.
Summer can feel long for families. The regular routines of the school year are gone, so there can be lots of time to fill, and this will be a perfect opportunity to start a new learning and play activity. Consider everyone’s interests and plan your activities to accommodate everyone’s needs and wants, so no one will feel left out. This might be tricky at first, but just go and do your best, the smile on everyone’s face and laughter in the backyard will be a great reward.
Another option is summer camp for autistic children. There are several options available, either day camps or sleep over camps. Choose which ever you think your child will tolerate better or benefit from.
Look into enrichment clubs and the YMCA. Both have missions that focus on inclusion, and both work hard to make inclusion work. All YMCA’s offer financial aid to families in need. Be sure to ask about financial aid if you need it.
Surf the web and look into listings for special needs options. Consider the cost, the time and your child’s needs.
Furthermore ask around. Talking to your child’s teacher, or other parents can be a great resource to find the perfect activity for your child for summer. Here in Central Florida we have CARD (Center for Autism and Related Disabilities), and they have an extensive resource listing on their site. They also offer summer camps and other activities for the children. We are really blessed to have CARD on our side.
Summer is definitely tough for families with autistic kids. For most of our kids, unstructured time isn’t relaxing – it’s overwhelming, that is why it is so crucial to plan ahead, and create a nice comfortable learning, as well as entertaining, environment. Don’t forget to create a visual-planner with lots of photos. Children affected by autism respond very well to pictures along with an explanation of what will happen next. Our goal should be to maintain our children’s current functioning, while promoting new skills.