With the summer holidays fast approaching, here are some thoughts to make this time both more manageable for you as a parent and more supportive for your child on the Autism Spectrum.
1) Get organized! A bit of planning now can go a long way to help you get set up for success. Begin asking your current volunteers and family members if they would be willing to spend some extra time one on one with your child. If they are not able to, perhaps they would lend a hand to help take your other children to the beach or to help make meals, do grocery runs, etc. Even if you had someone to be with your special child for two hours per day, that would free you up some time to do day to day chores, spend time with your other children, etc.
2) The great outdoors! Summer is the season for parks, lakes, the pool and the beach. If you are planning to go to any of these places, aim to go at the times of day when they are most quiet. Go to the park, late in the day, find a quieter spot at the lake away from the crowds or better still, stay in the confines of your back yard with a paddling pool, sprinkler, swing set or sand pit.
3) Choose a vacation that works for you! A family camping trip in a remote area or a vacation in a self-contained apartment would be more effective choices than staying in a busy resort or hotel if you are planning to get away this summer. That way you can keep distractions to a minimum and still give your child an element of control. Try scheduling yourself, along with other family members to take turns alternating being in charge of your special child so everyone gets a turn to relax and enjoy themselves while your special child stays safe and supported.
4) Beware of foods that your child cannot tolerate! With a bit of research, you can create delicious chilled smoothies made with coconut milk or coconut water instead of sugary fruit juice, yogurt and ice cream. There are also many nutritious veggies that you can throw on the grill for yummy summertime dinners.
5) Keep your special child home as much as possible! Know that what may be delightful and fun for you and your other children may be overwhelming and unpredictable for your child on the Autism Spectrum. Being at home (in The Son-Rise Program Playroom as much as possible), or even around the house will help your child regulate their sensitive, sensory processing system in a more digestible way.
HAVE A GREAT SUMMER