Support for Parents with Children Diagnosed with ASD: A Guide to Summer Activities
The school year is almost over, and the summer is just around the corner. How do you get continued support for parents with children diagnosed with ASD?
Fostering your child's skills and knowledge during the summer break when your child has special needs can be challenging for any parent. But you are not alone. The Gateway School offers parent training in the form of workshops twice a year. Information and training is based on the interest of the parents. Topics can span from transition planning, guardianship, special education parents’ rights and responsibilities, to behavioral issues in the home and community.
Continuing to learn for an autistic child often means working on behavioral challenges and important social skills in natural community and home environments, rather than memorizing and practicing academic skills. Fortunately, finding support for parents of children with autism can help.
Increasing Your Special Needs Child's Independence
Every parent's hope for their child – whether special needs or not – is independence to the maximum extent possible. It's especially important for special needs children, no matter what the severity of their condition, to gain as much independence as possible.
Stop focusing on what your child can't do and focus on what he or she can. Set a standard you expect out of every day. Develop a routine and let your child know exactly what you would like to accomplish together. Use pictures or a chart to reinforce the routine.
Change the routine if you notice struggles or your child begins exceeding your expectations. Always set the standard above what they can currently do.
Explore New Places and Activities
This may sound counterproductive to you but start slowly. Change, as well as new places and experiences, can be difficult for children with ASD, especially those with significant social challenges.
If you're nervous about taking your child out in public due to meltdowns, start at home with a new sensory activity.
Start slow and don't expect your child to take well to the new activity immediately.
For instance, if you want your child to experience the zoo and have an opportunity to enjoy it without the distraction of others, visit a small petting zoo. Choose a day during the week in the morning when the place isn't as busy, so your child can truly enjoy it and take his or her time.
Look for Babysitters, Programs, and Camps
You're not helping your child with independence and preparing for the real world if you're a helicopter parent, never letting them experience any time without you.
Even if you don't have plans for the summer, plan time for your child to spend with someone else you trust - but make yourself accessible in case the time doesn't go as you expect. Camps and summer programs are available for the general public, but if you feel your child isn't quite ready for them, look into programs for special needs children.
The Gateway School runs a 30-day, full-time Extended School Year program from early July through mid-August. The curriculum continues the goals and objectives that are worked on during the regular school year. Several trips are also planned throughout the summer including visits to the beach, zoo and bowling.
About RKS Associates
At the Gateway School, we recognize the importance of continued support for parents with children diagnosed with ASD. The supportive structure and educational programs we provide through the Extended School Year program is designed specifically with them in mind. Located in Carteret, NJ, we serve individuals throughout Central and Northern New Jersey. To learn more about our programs, contact us at 732.541.4400 or schedule a private tour of the Gateway School today.