Autism Spectrum Summer Therapy Tips – How to keep the therapy progress of Autism Spectrum Disorder students going through the summer when kids are off of school.
Years ago, I first took an activist’s approach to improving my son’s social skills and coordination in hopes of mainstreaming him in time for Kindergarten, I dove right into alternative therapies, OT and help from educators – all of which helped improved his, albeit mild, Aspberger’s syndrome behaviors. I remember having feelings of “now what?” when pre-school and his school programs let out for the summer. I wanted (and needed) to keep the progress going at lightning speed to keep his progress with Asperger’s going. I put together my own successes to formulate my own autism spectrum summer therapy.
Now, it’s a few years later and I realize that the doldrums of summer don’t necessarily mean a halt to progress for autism Spectrum Disorder children. If anything, my son’s progress is amplified even more over the long summer months. That’s not because we stopped seeking treatment or stopped working with him, it’s because he gets a nice break from the often rigorous social pressures of the school year.
Fortunately, there are plenty of things to do both locally and nationally that people on the Autism Spectrum Disorder spectrum can participate in.
Autism Spectrum Disorder Summer Therapy Tips
The key to autism spectrum summer therapy is to keep the progress going. It’s all to easy for progress to take a vacation when your school support or autism therapist is on vacation. Summer can be a dangerous time where ASD kids can be inclined to long breaks of little social interaction and too much time for vices like video games. Like all kids, ASD students need to be active and social stimulation helps if you’re seeing social progress. Take advantage of the nicer weather, it’s the perfect chance for ASD kids to be given a rest from the scholastic stresses and the break gives them more time to hone in on therapies that aren’t as socially intensive as a school setting.
AMC movie theaters provide sensory friendly film showings to families affected by autism on a monthly basis (see our special needs events calendar in related posts). The movies are shown with the lights up and sound turned down and sensory affected audience members are invited to get up out of their seats whenever they want. It’s an excellent way to enjoy a movie!
Locally, O.A.T.S. is a wonderful non-profit here in Oakland County that uses horseback riding as a therapy for special needs riders. Most parents of Autism Spectrum Disorder children immediately see the benefit that natural horseback riding provides in the “bouncing” and “crashing” movements that stimulate spatial relations.
Summer is also the perfect time to visit local Pump It Up or other bouncer locations. Pump It Up is highly involved in Autism therapy bounces and have many “open” jumps on their calendar every week. Many parents (myself included) see great sensory gains after a round on the giant bouncers. It’s hard to call this “treatment” when it’s fun for the whole family.
My son’s greatest sensory gains at an early age came from pleasant trips to the pool. In addition to overcoming sensory issues in terms of water, we practiced a lot of spatial activity with simple games of catch with a wet, spongy nerf ball. As he was able to progress over some of the water issues, we went to water slides at our local waterparks.
Summer is a time for children to take a breather from school and get their bearings. The same is true, if not more so, for kids on the Autism Spectrum Disorder spectrum. There are so many alternative therapies out there that thrive on outdoor, warm weather fun outside of a school setting.
I hope you find these Autism Spectrum Summer Therapy Tips helpful.