How are you feeling about the summer holidays which are approaching? Tense? Nervous? Anxious? With Dread? Or are you ok and welcome the rest from school runs and the routine of the academic calendar?
That is one of the big issues with this time of year, the routine of the timetable changes a lot now. There are sports days, induction sessions if moving schools, changes to some subjects and maybe an extra classroom change thrown in there too. I think most schools will try their best to keep this to a minimum but it can have a massive effect on a child with Autism.
I think our kids just feel this more than others and get ready to finish. Some though would prefer to carry on as the timetable keeps them focussed and on track alleviating a lot anxiety. Six weeks is a long time and it can be a massive ordeal trying to organise things to do and activities that will really interest our young ones. As long as they are happy and calm and you are less stressed as a parent then go with the flow. Do what you feel your young one needs. There are going to be changes and days where they won't want to do as you planned and you kind of have to be prepared for that. It can be disappointing but the most important thing is keep stress levels down to a minimum.
Maybe it would be good to make a timetable similar to that at school. Not with Maths and English on but with things you want to do, then there is structure and organisation. You could use pictures, photos or drawings. stickers make it fun as well. A calendar can just be as useful, my son just likes our kitchen calendar and always checks it to see what we have on, I just have to remember to keep t up to date.
You may be planning to go away on holiday which needs good planning too. Prepare your young person as much as possible from what will be involved regarding packing and go through a map of the journey. Make a scrapbook using pictures of where you are going, hotels, the surrounding areas and any trips you plan to take. It sounds a lot of work but you can make it fun and it will be worth it if it makes the whole experience easier.
Our Derby and District Branch of the NAS (National Autistic Society) have a meeting coming up on the 17th July where we will be holding a discussion on this subject and welcome anyone to come along who needs a few ideas and strategies on how to cope over the summer period.
We hold our meetings at The Farmhouse, 60 Ashbourne Rd, Mackworth, Derby DE22 4LY from 7pm-9pm in the Library Room. it's a lovely place to meet. We have tea and coffee on offer but there are also drinks available from the bar so please come along if you are in the local area.
Let me know how you cope and what works for you at this time of year as everyone deals with summer very differently so any ideas would be great to pass on.
Thank you for reading today, please come back tomorrow for Pass the Remote Sunday, keep cool and take care.
A mixed reaction to that question I imagine. For some the school holiday cannot come quick enough as it means a rest and a chance to re charge enabling a fresh start in September. For others it is the start of a six week nightmare.
The thing is, some our kids who have Autism are quite content with the routine and structure of a school day. It is planned, timed activities and there is a clear start and end to the day. It's going home that this all changes, unless you are a parent who is waiting with a timetable to carry on that routine at home, some of us do with a chart or visual prompts but a lot of us struggle to know what the right thing is to do.
There is no right or wrong is there? It is a case of going with the flow and it does depend on the child. I have tried the charts at home and even printed off Makaton symbols in the early days which did help to some extent but life is full of change and I know that is no help at all for someone with Autism.
So what do we do to to get over the summer period? For us it's about getting out and just walking. Both my boys are getting older now and tend to do their own thing but there is one thing about my eldest son and that he is never bored, he is always busy. He will draw or make powerpoint presentations of his favourite Disney movies, he never stops. Walking is great, it works off some energy, keeps us fit and he takes his lightsaber out with him, just in case we may meet anyone from the dark side, well you never know!
I tend not to plan too much, I used to always think we had got to go here and there and fill the holidays with mega exciting stuff. This lead to a lot of frustration, not wanting to go out when it came around to it, as anyone knows the day can take a massive turn depending on behaviour. So I chilled out, relaxed and now go with the flow. We still do exciting stuff but at our own pace. We take every day as it comes, if we want to do something we do but if we want to stay in and have a PJ day we do that as well.
I do realise that not every household can do that as there has to be more structure for some and that's fine. We have one of those whiteboard weekly planners which is great, the kids will sometimes just get a marker and write something on that they want to do. Cricket has become our new love this year and I bought a set to take out and have a game so we are looking forward to that when it stops raining!!! As long as we are all happy and we grab that nice walk now and again, the fresh air seems to make us happy.
It's easier on the pocket as well when we walk, most places are free although I did branch out on a National Trust membership this year as there was an offer on and I thought it may be nice to walk around some different places. There are many days out and activities for people with disabilities and if you are in the Derby area there is an organisation called Umbrella who have lots on over the summer. For more information check out their website at www.umbrella.uk.net
If you fancy a bit of support over the holidays the National Autistic Society Derby and District Branch have a meet up on the 22nd August from 7-9pm at The Farmhouse in Derby (60 Ashbourne Road DE22 4LY) so if you fancy a couple of hours out, have a brew (there is a bar too) and just generally chat to others in the same situation then pop along, they will make you feel very welcome.
Keep an eye out on your local council website as they will have information about what is going on in your area. There are a lot of 'What's On' Facebook pages too if you search for your local area. Whatever you do though I hope it is stress free and you have fun. Please leave a comment and let me know ideas you have and how you cope, it's good to share any information.
Thank you for reading, please come back for more tomorrow when I will be chatting about the world of TV on 'Pass the Remote'.
Take care for now........
Every Saturday will be about Autism, family and life.