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Summer Transitions for Children with Autism and ADHD.

Summer holidays can be a time of joy and relaxation for many families, but for children with autism or ADHD, managing transitions during this period can be challenging. In this blog post, we'll explore some effective strategies to help parents prepare their kids for the shifts in routine and structure that come with the summer break.

Understanding the Big Picture:

The transition from a structured school environment to the free-flowing days of summer, and back to school in January, can be disorienting for children. Acknowledging the challenges and being aware of the potential impact on eating and sleeping routines is the first step towards a smoother transition.

Recognizing Why Transitions Are Difficult:

Transition difficulties are common for kids with autism, ADHD, and anxiety. Uncertainty and the shift from preferred to non-preferred activities contribute to this challenge. Understanding your child's perspective on these transitions is crucial for effective preparation.

Creating a Transition Plan:

Developing a plan is akin to opening a line of communication with your child. It doesn't have to be one-sided; involve your child in the planning process. Visual schedules, task lists, and calendars are excellent tools for conveying the upcoming changes. These plans should include information about events, people involved, and any specific requirements.

Maintaining a Flexible Routine:

While structure is essential for preparing kids for transitions, a certain level of flexibility is equally important. Incorporating a 'question mark' element in the plan for uncertain days allows children to anticipate changes while minimising anxiety. Striking a balance between routine and flexibility is key to a successful summer.

Countdowns and Social Stories:

Countdowns to transitions provide a tangible way for kids to grasp the concept of time. Visual cues, like countdown timers, aid children, especially those with ADHD, in understanding the passing of time. Social stories, narrating upcoming changes through pictures, help children mentally prepare for more significant transitions, such as holidays.

Sensory Tools for Smooth Transitions:

Sensory tools can be invaluable in easing the discomfort associated with transitions. Deep breathing exercises and sensory items, strategically introduced, can help regulate and calm children during uncertain times.

Trial and Error with Strategies:

Not all strategies work for every child. It's essential to try different approaches and observe what resonates best with your child. Keeping a record of effective strategies can be useful for future transitions.

As we venture into the summer holidays, a proactive approach to transition planning can significantly benefit children with autism and ADHD. By understanding their unique challenges and employing effective strategies, parents can make the summer break an enjoyable and less stressful experience for the whole family.


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