22 May 2015
There are some important factors to be considered in order to assure a successful summer vaction for the entire family.
- Sensory integration issues can probably cause the most serious inconvenience. A sensory overload can needlessly ruin the vacation. Noises, smells/odors, incessent objects and people in motion, high temperature, brightness, lack of personal space, major change of setting (environment), air pressure inside an airplane, seasickness,…You know your child’s sensory issues best.
- Equip your child with everything to protect her from the above-mentiond issues. Sunglasses, headphones, soft clothes to protect her skin from the heat, masks to wear over the nose, hats, sunvisors, security blanket and toys,…All these small little things can save you a great deal of meltdowns and temper tantrums.
- The safety of your child is your top priority. Make sure when thinking of a destination for a vacation to choose a protected and guarded place. Possibilities of getting lost, drowning, falling off cliffs, hights, etc. should be taken into consideration.
- Have your child wear a name tag with a phone number where you can be reached, especially if you are away from home.
- Choose autism-friendly airlines, restaurants, AMC theaters, To help you find the peace of mind during vacation visit Autism Friendly Locations.
- Prepare a visual schedule with the basic activities on it. When not so sure put a Question Mark (?). Depending on your child’s age and capabilities, make it either a daily or a weekly schedule. Whether you are spending the summer at home or away from home, a schedule is needed to provide assurance and anchorage for your child. People on the autism spectrum function much better in a routine system.
- Talk to your child ahead of time about the family’s plans for summer break. Where, when, how long,…all kinds of questions should be answered before leaving. Try to be specific as much as you can. Use pictures or videos to better have her visualize the summer plans. Preparedness and predictability are indisbensible when dealing with children with ASD.
- If you are not able to travel, make sure not to overschedule. Signing up your child for all kinds of activity will not do her good. Help her find her strengths and put them together to work out a project she would enjoy. Here are some ideas if your child is staying at home for summer break: libraries, book club, swimming pool, ice skating, movies, theaters, festivals, arts and crafts class, music lessons, museums, local theme park if available, neighborhood park, playdates, sleep over, gardening, house chores, woodwork,…
- Vacations don’t have to be fancy. It is all about how to use them wisely and sensibly.
- Summer time is a golden opportunity to help your child discover her strengths and practice them to express her true self. Summer time is perfect for your child to flourish, prosper, and bloom. Get the best out of it! If you cannot have a vacation in the summer, fall, winter, and spring breaks are all other good times, if not better.
Have a great summer!
Tags: autism, communication, discipline, flexibility, independence, organization, parenting, schedule, sensory, sensory integration issues, social interaction, summer break, temper tantrum, vacation, visual timer