Autism and Summer: Tips to Overcome Summer Challenges

Summer is a time of the year where most families look forward to vacations, beautiful destinations, pool parties, and overall relaxation from school activities. Unfortunately, for families on the spectrum, summer can be a challenging season due to the changes and things that come with it. 

Why Is Summer Challenging For ASD Families?

For parents on the spectrum, summer can represent both excitement and stress. Happiness because they get to spend more time with their children, and dread due to routine loss and all that it comes with it.
Among the principal  popular causes of summer stress you can find:

  • Loss of Structure: Children on the spectrum need routines to avoid meltdowns and anxiety. With summer vacations, children loss all schedules and can get confused and anxious.
  • Loss of Therapies and Support: In most schools, programs like 1:1 aides, Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), speech therapy, occupational therapy, and/or social skills therapy end a couple of weeks before the school program does, which can increase unease in children.
  • Child Care Stress: For working parents, this can represent a major trial. Finding a good ChildCare program to take care of an ASD child can be a hard task, not mentioning the challenge that it will represent to the child to be in a completely new atmosphere.
  • Vacations Stress: Traveling with children can be though. But traveling with children on the spectrum takes things to another level. Children get anxious in airplanes, noisy crowds, experience sensory issues with pools and sand, and can have a hard time in general when it comes to adjusting to new experiences.
We understand that vacations can be so exhausting that you might need vacations from your vacations. However, with the help of our tips, you will find ways to make summer a great, enjoyable season for everyone!

Overcoming Summer Challenges

Planning is essential when it comes to successful ASD vacations. The following tips will help you ease the task:
1.- Plan Ahead: Start researching around October, make plans by December, and have everything lined up around May. This way when June comes, you are ready to go.

2.- Apply for ESY:
Extended School Year programs, are available in almost all districts and can be a great option for working parents. Most schools offer full-time or mid-time programs that can be life-saving for parents on the spectrum, and all should provide at least some therapy (often speech, aba, and/or occupational therapy) during the summer months. This is a great way to maintain your childs schedule (as much as possible) as normal as usual.

3.- Build a Summer Routine:  
For parents on the spectrum spontaneity is not really an option. Children require structures and planning are needed for almost every activity. If you are staying home with your child, we highly encourage you to stick to a daily routine so he/she does not feel disrupted and overwhelmed. Make a chart and review it with your child so they feel involved and know what is next. 

4.- Practice: If you and your family are thinking about traveling to a new place, or doing a different activity we highly encourage you to practice with your child. If you are visiting a new place, show your child pictures of it so they can feel familiar with it. If you are traveling to the sea, or some resort, taking your child to a near pool can be a great way to get started. In our blog post Autism & Pools: Dealing With Sensory Issues During Vacations, you will find incredible tips to deal with sensory issues and ASD challenges at pools. Remember, a little planning can make the whole difference. 

5.-Get Them Involved: If you are visiting family members, creating a family album beforehand is a great way to avoid “unfamiliarity” stress. Show your child the pictures of the family members that he/she will meet, and talk with your family about the challenges that your child might face. Additionally, if you are staying home, you can include your child into the household activities. To find out all about it visit our blog post How To Modify Chores for ASD Children.

As parents, we are always thinking about making the most for our children. However, sometimes it is important to remember to have fun as well. Focus on the incredible memories that you are building with your child, and take the time to enjoy each moment. Your child will learn to like the pool, and he/she will keep on developing different skills. Make sure to enjoy each one of them too!

At WSCC, we offer support for autistic families and their children with Stem Cell Therapy treatments that can transform autistic conditions by healing the gut, decreasing inflammation and improving brain function. We also created an autistic community on Facebook that is destined to offer support and companionship for ASD parents and their families on their journey.

Remember, you are not alone!