Schools are closed and you might be going “now what?!” Here come the re-routes (aka routine changes) for the summer. Summertime should be a fantastic time for most families. Well, it’s different for us Autism parents. We actually go into panic mode.
I heard the frustration from one of my Autism moms that I coach as an Autism Communication Expert, “he spent the last 10 months learning a (structured) routine, that he finally got used to, then… school closes for the summer.”
Children on the Autism spectrum have difficulty with routine changes. This can result in meltdowns, breakdowns and emotional uncertainty. As you are dealing with the various sorts of behavioral responses at home, here are my 3 quick sure-fire success tips to help to get back onto the path.
1. Home for the Summer
- Pull out that wall calendar and place it somewhere they will see it every day
- Create a scheduled routine that is similar to what they followed at school. For example, same lunch and snack time.
- HAVE FUN
2. Summer Camp Flow
- By now you should have prepped them by telling or taking them to visit the camp. If not…START NOW.
- Highlight to your kiddo the things that they “will” like (activities that they liked in the past like, swimming, running, climbing) that will be offered at the camp. Then ask them to focus and share with you the positives that will be at the camp.
- Send a love note or picture with a smile and encouraging note for the counselors to give or read to your child during the day to remind them you love them.
3. Traveling Summer TIME
- Read books, video and other visual tools to tell them all about your trip.
- Have them choose one thing that they would really like to do or try to do.
- Make IT happen.
Use language as your ally for these break in routines. Prepare as much as you can ahead of the time. Emphasize the positive and favorable activities or objects and associate them with the new route. In fact, I will be sharing more useful summer tips to help with “routine changes” throughout the summer in my Facebook group. If you haven’t joined us yet I hope you head over and connect with our tribe!
Most importantly switch roles temporarily, be flexible and understanding, and keep communication open along the re-routed process.
Share some of your tips on how you prepare for changes in routines in your au-mazing household?