As the school year ends and summer nears, it's important for parents of children with autism to plan for a structured transition. Kids with autism often struggle with changes in routine, but with a well-planned schedule, you can make the transition smooth and enjoyable for your child. Here are 5 ways you can create a smooth transition into summer for your child.
1. Start by creating a visual daily schedule
This schedule should include a balance of structured activities, free time, and relaxation. The structured activities can be anything, from going to the park, swimming lessons, or playing educational games. The free time can be used for activities that your child enjoys, such as reading, playing video games, or spending time with friends. Relaxation time should focus on unwinding and can involve activities like reading or listening to music.
2. Involve your child in creating the schedule.
When creating a summer schedule, involve your child in the decision-making process. Engaging them in the planning helps them feel more in control and invested in the routine.
3. Use visual supports
Incorporate pictures, icons, or written words to represent each activity or transition throughout the day. Display the schedule in a prominent place where your child can easily refer to it. Visual cues provide a clear and tangible representation of the day's plan, reducing anxiety and promoting independence. For your convenience, we created a daily routine template with visual cues you can use to make a schedule!
4. Incorporate Special Interests
Identify your child's special interests and incorporate them into the schedule whenever possible. Whether it's outdoor adventures, arts and crafts, or a specific hobby, tailoring activities to their passions encourages self-expression and can lead to new learning opportunities.
5. Maintain Consistency
While the summer schedule may differ from the school routine, try to maintain consistency in meal times, bedtime, and other essential daily activities. Consistency provides a reassuring anchor amidst the changes, facilitating a smoother transition and promoting a sense of stability.
With thoughtful planning and a structured approach, you can ensure a positive and enjoyable summer for your child with autism.