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Tips for Creating & Maintaining a Summer Routine

Tips for Creating & Maintaining a Summer Routine

This blog was written by Samantha Chicchetti, Special Education Teacher at New Story Schools in Wyoming, PA. 

With summer right around the corner, the idea of a vacation with nothing to do is an appealing thought to many. However, for individuals living with autism, this can be overstimulating, chaotic, and very overwhelming. Creating and maintaining a summer routine can help alleviate many of the out-of-control feelings that lead to anxiety and behaviors of concern.  

Create a Plan: Structure can provide a sense of security and predictability, which is crucial for those who thrive on routine. By implementing a daily visual schedule, individuals with autism can better understand what to expect, reducing the anxiety that comes with the unknown. Reviewing the plan for the day each morning, along with the expected activities and behaviors, can set a positive tone and help manage expectations. 

Be Flexible: Flexibility within the routine is also important. While it is helpful to keep certain elements consistent, such as mealtimes, incorporating some flexibility can help individuals adapt to changes without feeling overwhelmed. This balance between consistency and adaptability can provide a sense of familiarity and calm while allowing for new and engaging experiences.  

Inform People About Changes: If a significant change is planned, such as a visit to a new place or a gathering with many people, it's essential to prepare the individual in advance. Frontloading information about the new experience can help set realistic expectations and reduce potential stress. Tools like social stories can be beneficial in explaining these changes in a relatable and understandable way. 

Stay Comfortable: Bringing comfort items, snacks, and necessary communication devices can ensure a smoother, more enjoyable outing. Scheduling regular sensory breaks or downtime can also help manage overstimulation and provide necessary respite throughout the day.  

Remember, the goal of summer vacation is to have fun, and fun can look different for everyone. It is vital to allow individuals to express themselves and enjoy their time in their unique way. With thoughtful planning and consideration of their specific needs, we can create a summer filled with joy and memorable experiences for everyone. 

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