Great Summer Programs for Children with Autism

Great Summer Programs for Children with Autism

School is almost out for summer. This doesn’t mean that your child will need to be at home all summer. There are many summer programs, activities, and events that are designed for children with autism in mind.

Before looking at fun activities and programs, however, be sure to talk with your child’s therapist. They may have some great summer programs that could be a great option.

Summer School and Therapy

Many autism and ASD programs don’t follow a typical school schedule. If your child attends a school or clinic that offers year-round care and therapy, see what they offer.

Before signing up for any summer school or therapy plans, however, you may want to ask a few questions:

  • Will my child have the same instructor or teacher?
  • Are the hours the same?
  • What differences are there between summer & school year programs?
  • Is the program the same?
  • Is the provider (both for teachers & insurance) the same?

Of course, these questions may not be necessary if your child attends a year-round school or clinic. Always be sure that year-round schools offer the same services in summer–changes could lead to some behavioral hiccups.

Events & Festivals

We’ll preface this by saying that larger events are not for every child with autism. Big crowds and big noises can lead to sensory discomfort that could easily be avoided by not attending specific events (like music festivals or sporting events).

With that said, there are tons of events that go on locally every summer. Things like:

  • Farmer’s markets
  • Arts & crafts events
  • Outdoor sales
  • Certain areas or events at county fairs

Be sure that your child is OK with any expected noises or other sensory overloads that could be present at a given event. If you are unsure what an event entails or how big the expected crowd is, call the event organizer. Some events may have safe areas or activities specifically designed for children with autism.

Fun Summer Activities at Home

Of course, you can always set up some great summer activities for your child in their favorite comfort zone–home. If you child shows interest in specific types of activities, the following list may get you started towards creating some amazing activities:

  • Camping (not necessarily overnight–tents and sleeping bags are fun any time)
  • “Pool” days (inflatable pools, sprinklers, etc)
  • Picnic days (help with packing the picnic and eating in the yard)
  • Art activity days (coloring, painting, chalk, play-doh, etc)
  • Rainy day reading or movies (snacks & entertainment)

These activities are just the tip of the iceberg. If your child has interests or loves activities that aren’t on this chart… find a way to incorporate them into their summer schedule!

ABA Therapy from IABA Consultants

If you have questions regarding autism treatment, education, or plans to use ABA therapy, we are here for you! Our goal is to make sure no family is turned away due to financial constraints. Our therapy team would love to talk to you. Find the location closest to you and give us a call. We’re here for you.

Great Summer Programs for Children with Autism

Transitioning to Summer Tips for Children with Autism

Earlier this year, we wrote an article about Going Back to School for Kids with Autism. Believe it or not, this school year is almost over! That’s why we wanted to come back to this topic but with an obvious twist: reversing the topic.

This article is meant to provide some tips and information regarding easing children with autism back into a summer schedule. Some children with autism may be in year-long plans, so be sure to talk to your child’s therapist about any breaks or scheduling concerns you may have.

Develop a Transition Plan

Just like going back to school, devising a plan to transition from school to summer is crucial for easing a child into a new schedule. Talk to your child’s school or therapist about what are the most important things to keep in mind for summer.

Things like behavior practices and teaching methods should be consistent between parents and teachers. A drastic change in how behavior is handled from school to home can be damaging to your child’s care plan.

Taking Over for Teachers

Making a list of your child’s needs is an important step toward sending them into a comfortable school environment. Likewise, reading notes from and talking to your child’s teacher can update you on certain behaviors and changes that occurred over the course of the school year.

Make a list of behaviors and activities to keep front of mind for your child during summer break. This can help you think quickly if a problematic behavior or situation arises.

Easing into a Summer Schedule

For some autistic children, transitioning into a different schedule can be very difficult. Make sure to ease your child into a summer setting. This means keeping some degree of consistency with bedtimes, mealtimes, activity times, and other daily activities and routines.

Talking to your child’s teacher or therapist about in-school routines can also help you devise a schedule that makes sense to your child. Find out how long certain activities go on and build a summer schedule around that.

Changing into a full-on summer routine doesn’t have to be the option. New summer activities can replace school activities in the same timeframe. Replacing a teacher’s activity with an outdoor play schedule or indoor activity during the same time period can work wonders when it comes to continuity.

Vacations

Depending on a child’s sensitivities, vacations can be the hardest thing about summer when it comes to making a child feel comfortable. It’s hard to simulate a vacation and vacation schedules don’t usually resemble a regular daily routine.

Make sure to have visual aids or anything that will help your child understand your family is going to a fun place away from home a few weeks prior to any trip. Cementing an understanding is very important for a smooth transition.

Be sure to make sure that anywhere you stay or visit knows any special needs you have before going. If your child has special needs be sure to find lodgings and activities that can accommodate those needs.

Most importantly, be sure to make a list of everything your child may want or need on your trip. Favorite toys, objects, snacks, and other things may help your child transition to somewhere new.

Be sure to talk to your child’s therapist or pediatrician before making any vacation plans. They could have insight and information you may not think of on your own.

ABA Therapy from IABA Consultants

If you have questions regarding autism treatment, education, or plans to use ABA therapy, we are here for you! Our goal is to make sure no family is turned away due to financial constraints. Our therapy team would love to talk to you. Find the location closest to you and give us a call. We’re here for you.

Great Summer Programs for Children with Autism

Finding a Safe Park for Children with Autism

Going to the park is a great way to get some outdoor time with your family. Finding a park that an autistic child can feel comfortable at, however, can be a bit of a challenge.

Let’s go over a few general tips about public parks that may help a child with autism feel more comfortable.

Parks & Equipment

Many public parks today are fancier than the ones we had as kids. Plastic climbing walls, steering wheels, and bubble windows are regularly found at parks today. While some of these fun things may not lead to sensory discomfort, many parks have a few things to consider before scheduling a trip.

  • Ground texture (woodchips, sand, rubber chips, etc)
  • Surface texture (plastic, metal, wood, etc)
  • Playset structure (heights, movement, noise, etc)

Taking a mental inventory of things your child is or is not comfortable with when you see a new park can alleviate potential problems before they arise. A lot of public parks have vastly different layouts from one another. Find the one that will work the best for your child’s needs.

Scheduling a Visit

Parks have busy times, just like any other public location. If your child has difficulties with large crowds or other children, finding a slower time could help smooth out a park visit. Things to keep in mind before visiting a park include:

  • Time of day
  • Day of the week (weekends are busy!)
  • Time of year (holidays, 3-day weekends, spring break, etc)
  • Businesses around the park (are there a lot of noisy trucks around during the day?)
  • Seasonal changes (citywide events, etc)

If your child has difficulty dealing with crowds, make sure to plan your park visits accordingly. Also, be sure to monitor your child’s engagement during any park visit. What do they like? What do they not like? This can help you plan future trips.

What to Bring to a Park Visit

If you want to have a park visit that makes your child feel as comfortable as possible, you may have to bring a couple of things. Things that may help a park visit with a child with autism include:

  • Favorite toys or objects
  • Snacks & drinks
  • Timer or visual aids for visit duration
  • Favorite blanket for sitting or picnics

Be sure to ask your child’s therapist if they have any tips for park visits. On top of suggestions, they may have some fun activities that will make your next park visit a blast!

ABA Therapy from IABA Consultants

If you have questions regarding autism treatment, education, or plans to use ABA therapy, we are here for you! Our goal is to make sure no family is turned away due to financial constraints. Our therapy team would love to talk to you. Find the location closest to you and give us a call. We’re here for you.

Great Summer Programs for Children with Autism

Shopping Tips for Children with Autism

Shopping with children isn’t easy. From the busy environments to the constant ‘I wants’, children will always find a way to make your trip to the store more difficult. The discomfort an autistic child may feel during shopping experiences can bring some other challenges into the mix. 

This article was written to give some general tips on how to make your child feel more comfortable during shopping trips. And a happy child may help mom or dad have an easier shopping experience.

Planning Your Shopping Trips

While knocking out all your shopping needs in one trip sounds nice, it may not be the best option for your child. Extended shopping trips can throw off a child’s schedule. Spreading out your shopping may allow your child to get more comfortable with the trips in general.

Sticking to the principle of shorter trips also allows parents to introduce children to different environments at different times. This can help familiarize your child with new places and activities that happen in social situations.

And be sure to keep ‘big purchase’ shopping experiences kid-free. If you are buying something that needs salespeople, paperwork, or consultation, you’ll definitely want to leave your child at home. These complicated sales can take a long time to complete and you may have to switch your focus from your child to the sale–which isn’t good for either of you!

Making Shopping Trips Easier

Just like most situations, shopping with an autistic child can be made easier by preparing for their potential discomfort. Some great things to bring on any shopping excursion include:

  • Any must-have toys or objects
  • Favorite snacks & drinks
  • A list or other visual aid to show your child the shopping itinerary

On top of physical objects that can make shopping easier, there are also a few things you can do with your child to prepare. Be sure to talk to your child’s therapist about these practices to make sure they are in line with their program.

  • Timeframe visual aids
  • Picking out things at specific stores (snacks, clothes, toys, etc, depending on the store)
  • Helping with the shopping (pushing a cart, holding a basket, using the credit card, etc)
  • Practice behavior with potential rewards

Helping your child feel comfortable is paramount to a great shopping experience. Be sure to work with your child before any new shopping location to keep the attitudes and behaviors positive.

ABA Therapy from IABA Consultants

If you have questions regarding autism treatment, education, or plans to use ABA therapy, we are here for you! Our goal is to make sure no family is turned away due to financial constraints. Our therapy team would love to talk to you. Find the location closest to you and give us a call. We’re here for you.