With a thoughtful summertime plan in place, the routine altering days of summer can still be positive and empowering for individuals with autism! Unlike school, HHF’s autism services in Pennsylvania, NY, NJ, and MD continue sessions during the summer months, but generally, summer routines for families in a traditional school setting differ. Even if your child’s routine may change over the summer, maintaining learned behaviors and promoting functional growth is still an achievable goal!
To make the most of your summer break, here are some practical summertime strategies to help you minimize behavior regression and maximize your child’s positive development!
1. Establish a Consistent Routine
Since uncertainty and unexpected change can be a significant source of stress, organizing a plan that replicates your child’s school time routine is a great place to begin. While you may not be able to replicate every detail of your child’s school day, you can infuse similar activities into the mix. For example, if arts-and-crafts time is a constant in their morning routine at school, perhaps you can recreate a fun and colorful craft space at home to play and learn together each morning.
You can create visual schedules so your child knows what to expect each day with their new routines. Once you have organized a manageable weekly plan that blends free time with productive activities, try to maintain the schedule to the best of your ability!
2. Encourage Your Child’s Ongoing Social Development
One of the most important summertime challenges to overcome is the shifting social dynamic. Since school is filled with familiar faces, friends, and opportunities that help your child practice new communication or functional skills with a group, it’s helpful to find a viable alternative.
Depending on your child’s needs, potential socialization opportunities might range from arranging playdates with friends to participating in social events like community activities or family barbeques. Any fun and encouraging event that includes group activities can promote meaningful skill development and inspire social engagement! You can use familiar tools from school or ABA sessions to help your child be successful in these new settings.
By keeping your child connected with others regularly, speech development, social skills, and confidence can continue to blossom all summer long.
3. Discuss Summer Changes in Advance
Communicating with your child before changes occur can reduce the friction of transitioning into the summertime routine. Using informative tools such as visual schedules, a colorful calendar, or other communication tools is an excellent way to present information while reducing any anxiety or confusion that may arise from abrupt schedule changes.
4. Let Us Help You to Develop a Summer Strategy with Our Experienced ABA Providers!
Since each child’s needs and developmental goals vary significantly, fine-tuning your child’s plan for continued growth with an expert can prepare your summer schedule for success. As part of our evidence-based ABA therapy, including autism services in Pittsburgh, PA, and throughout the northeast we always involve family education in the plan. Our BCBAs work with parents to ensure a child’s ABA therapy carries beyond the clinic and will gladly offer suggestions to help your child excel during the summer routine change! Our BCBAs can provide materials and model strategies in the home and community environments to promote the generalization and maintenance of skills. If your child will be spending time with other caregivers during the summer months, your child’s BCBA can work with them as well to help find ways to keep your child engaged and happy with all the changes that summer can bring.
If you would like to learn more about our welcoming clinics or our gentle and encouraging approach to ABA therapy, our kind and helpful team members are an amazing resource for all things ABA therapy and beyond!