The end of a school year means a lot of different things to different people. To teachers it means some well deserved rest, to parents it probably means spending more time with their children, and to children it most likely means FUN! Whatever the end of another school year means to you; everyone has their own way of celebrating the successes and goals achieved during that time. One local family paid tribute to their child completing another year by burning all his old papers and notebooks. Talk about making a statement.
When your child comes home that last day of school, it is so exciting to know they made it another year and hopefully they did their very best. Most parents would have to agree it is nice not to have to worry about homework, tests, and projects for awhile. Just think for a minute though how that must feel to a child with autism or asperger's! For kids with special needs, summer is really all about some much needed down time. For the past nine months, their schedules have been full of very structured activities that are sometimes overwhelming for everybody. So just taking each day as they come in the summer is pretty important for families who have loved ones within the autism spectrum.
Summer is also the best time for traveling. Planning a trip is key to ensure everyone enjoys their time away while remembering what may be fun to one child may be stressful to a child with autism. Therefore, make sure there is down time planned even when away from home. Going to a new town and staying overnight is very exciting but can also be a little scary for autistic children. Remember they thrive on routine! Here are a few suggestions to help make your next family trip stress free for you and your child:
let your children bring a couple of games and/or toys from home that they love to play with
be sure to bring along your child's own bed pillow to sleep on
space out sight seeing and meals so there is time to just chill out doing nothing
discuss plans for the next event ahead of time so there are few surprises
if your child expresses a need for a break, listen
Children with autism or asperger's always need a little push to do things out of their comfort zones; however, it is important to always try to put yourself into the shoes of your children and see the world through their eyes. After all, we want our children to grow up and reminisce about their long summer days and the fun they had with their family and friends the same way we do. Special needs or not; all children deserve and want to just have FUN!