The summer holidays are often challenging for children with special needs as well as their parents. Children with autism often love structure and routine, disliking sudden changes. It’s not then surprising that the unpredictability of having no school can be upsetting and stressful.
In this blog, SpecialKids Company will provide some tips on helping children with autism to keep with learning during the summer.
Ask your child’s special needs school for support
Firstly, speak to your child’s teacher to find out what they are learning at school and how best to help them learn at home. The school might have some helpful ideas and resources that you can use.
Ask the school if they have a social story to explain the summer holidays to your child, as well as starting back at school at the end of the summer. This might help your child to understand the transitions as well as reduce their anxiety.
Create a learning timetable and stick to it
Making your own timetable will help create the much-needed routine and structure that your child needs during the day. It will help them to familiarise themselves with activities and know what to expect, reducing any anxiety or overwhelm.
Try to stick to your timetable as much as possible, including meal times and bed time routines.
Planning ahead and discussing plans with you child will also give them the opportunity to ask you any questions that they might have or voice any concern.
Create a calm and friendly learning environment
Learning at home can be a lot different to learning at school, so creating a calming learning environment is important. Remove any distractions and consider your child’s sensory needs. Use sensory aids if your child finds them helpful, such as ear defenders and fidget toys.
Learn through playing and other activities that your child enjoys
Don’t forget that your child can learn through play, which is of course great fun. For example, you can use cause and effect toys, puzzles, books or create a sensory table.
Reinforce and praise positive behaviours
Reinforcing and praising positive behaviours is important so that your child feels like their work has been acknowledged and their efforts appreciated. You could create a reward chart if you think that it would be useful, however, often a simple ‘well done’ can go a long way.
Join forces with other parents
Parents are experts in understanding their own children and coming up with creative ways in supporting them. Speak to other parents and join forces. Sharing knowledge is a powerful tool.
Utilise the iPad
Lots of children with autism love iPads – use this to your advantage. There are lots of learning apps and educational videos online that can help your child to learn.
We hope that you’ve found these ideas helpful and would love to hear any ideas that you have in the comments box below.
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