5 ways to support an child with ASD in the school holidays
Children with an ASD do not always find change easy and although we may expect school holidays to be chilled downtime for them, it can in fact be quite a stressful experience (for all of us!)
Here are some tips to help reduce that stress:
- Free time and free play can be overwhelming and scary. A timetable can be really useful and you can build free time into a timetable to make it lmore manageable. A timetable doesn’t have to be rigid but many children with an ASD will really like to know, at the very least, a vague plan for the week.
- Don’t throw out all the constants from their routine just because school is out. Getting up and gong to bed times really do benefit from being consistent as do meal times. Give advance warnings and clear explanation if these need to be altered.
- School holidays can be anxiety provoking. School, in itself, despite any issues is a quite clearly defined and routine experience, Be prepared for possibly regressive behaviour and have comforters like familiar films and seeing familiar faces in place.
- Don’t make it too exciting. What may be fun or exciting from our frame of reference can be exhausting, overstimulating and overwhelming for a child with an ASD. Really try to see the world from their perspective Introduce only one or two new things at a time with lots of support and explanation.
- Let your child have some say in what happens during the holidays and gain some control back in their often over controlled lives. A child I know with Aspergers Syndrome chooses to drop all his sports clubs in the holidays as he sees this as part of school term time and wants his holidays to be different. This is in spite of his usual love of routine and despite the clubs continuing. Choice and control is very important to give to all children and particularly those who often feel disempowered.
Have a good holiday everyone!