Let’s be honest, as parents we are constantly experiencing ambivalence in regards to the personal interaction and presence of our children. When they are present, we are inwardly hoping for some relief for just a few hours; when they are gone, we long to experience the nuances that make them so unique and lovable. Ergo, SUMMER VACATION, three months of daily activities that must be established, to maintain our sanity. Camps are great, however, with the resort prices some camps charge, this may be a difficult expense to incur, particularly if you have more than one child. Not to mention day trips, beach trips, amusement parks, movies, the list goes on and on. These dog days of summer can be jam packed and exhausting without a plan of action, especially if you have an autistic child. There may be activities you or your other children enjoy, however it may be overstimulating for your autistic child; triggering aggressive behaviors, screaming and the more. So to avoid these meltdowns, you opt for “safer” environments to avoid the triggers, although your other kids say they “understand” they’re kids and would like to engage in some typical activities. So here are few suggestions, that may reduce some of the stress in planning those summer outings with your family.
- Plan, Plan, Plan~ do some research find cost-effective and fun activities, for instance in Philadelphia, Smith Playground is a free outing that offers a sensory integrated playground for children ten and under and a huge playhouse for children five and under.. For my suburbanites, Freedom Playground in Havertown, PA, was also conscientiously crafted with sensory integration to accommodate autistic children.
- Split up the activities, if you have a reliable babysitter or family member take your autistic child out alone to places he/she enjoys. Then on the next trip vice versa, take your other children on an activity they enjoy, you can then reconvene for neutral activities that satisfy both.
- Some community movie theaters offer sensory friendly films in partnership with the Autism Society, you can take your whole family or make it another special time outing with your child.
- There are dedicated times in certain libraries where autistic children can visit, this can also serve as an opportunity for the whole family to attend while accommodating everyone’s interest.
- Relax, some days just veg out, let the kids find their favorite activity unplug from the hustle and bustle, let the house get a little messy, it’s OK. Engage in a few low stimulation activities with your child and when the kids take a nap, take one also.
Lastly, if you have some unique suggestions, share, share, share. A community that shares is a community that empowers. I hope you can make application of some of these ideas, if you desire more leave a comment, we will respond within 24 hours.
Venus A. David, M.Ed.