Volume 93Hi, I’m Craig Kendall, the author of The Asperger’s Syndrome Survival Guide. In today’s issue we will discuss…
Summer Behavior Challenges? Ways to Beat The Summer Blues!Given the nature of autism behavior, summer can actually be more difficult for kids with autism than most. In fact, many parents with kids who have autism dread the start of summer. Why? Summer wrecks with kids’ routine. Summer is full of endless days with nothing to do and no plan, no routine, no schedule. If there is one surefire thing you could possibly do to cause tantrums and bad autism behavior in kids with autism, it is to remove their schedule.
Beat the Summertime Blues and Help Autism BehaviorAll year long, kids with autism can at least rely on a few simple things. The yellow school bus which takes them to school, their classes and activities during school, and the yellow school bus to take them home. Love them or hate them, at least they’re there. And having your day structured in some way, for a child with autism, is so much infinitely better than doing nothing. So what do you do? Well, you have several options.
1. Extended School Year to Help Autism BehaviorSome schools will offer extended school year programs to children with autism or Asperger’s syndrome whom they feel are at risk of falling behind or those who need the extra enrichment and learning that extended school year programs provide. Many kids with high functioning autism or Asperger’s syndrome need consistent learning or else they will start the school year way behind where they left off. They might even end the school year ahead, but they will forget all they learned during the summer and often regress without the structure that school provides. Often, autism behavior that is problematic masks problems underneath — in this case, that the child with autism needs more stimulation and engaging activities. Ask your special education teacher or principal about this option.
2. Summer CampsThere are, of course, also summer camps. There are dozens of different kinds of summer camps you could send your child with autism to. Decide what is most important for you and your child. Do you want to work on social and communication skills in an autism focused environment? There are camps for that. Do you want to send your child to camp focused on his interests, such as a Lego camp, sports, or arts and crafts? There are camps for that. Your local Town Recreation department usually has a selection of camps for kids in the summer at relatively low cost — however, most are not customized for the specific needs of children with autism. But many do have summer camp programs designed for those with special needs. You can often get an aide to help your child participate in these activities. The key is planning ahead. Start early. Find out as early as possible in the year whom you will have to talk to and get permission forms to get your child the services they need over the summer. Doing so gives you the best chance of taking the negative autism behavior symptoms you often see in your child during the summer and turning them into positive ones.
Summer Camp OptionsYou can search on Google to find autism related summer camps that might be good for your child — or just talk to your local autism society chapter or doctor. Sometimes you can find a great program locally, and sometimes you have to travel for it. Such programs usually incorporate therapy, academics, social skills learning, fields trips and just plain fun into a smorgasbord for autism learning and increasing positive autism behavior. While I do not have personal experience with any of the following camp programs, you may want to contact them to see if they meet the needs of your child.
- My Summer Camps Directory: Camps for Kids with Autism
- Will Moore’s List of Therapy/Respite Camps for Kids
- Easter Seals Summer Camps
- Very Special Camps
- YMCA Camps
- Kids’ Camps Directory: Camps for Kids with Autism/Aspergers
- Jewish Community Center (JCC) Camps (not autism specific)
- Wilderness Inquiry Family and Youth Programs (not autism specific)