Post by:

Becky Thal

Created on:

May 15, 2024

How to Support Autistic Students During School Breaks

Note: This downloadable guide was created for educators and administrators to send to parents. Access the downloadable version here.

Social Cipher Guide to Supporting Autistic Students During School Breaks

While summer is typically a relaxing time for many kids, the break in school routines and structure can be very stressful, disorienting, and confusing for autistic students. Summer can also be a stressful time for parents, who have to fill each day with activities and try to keep developing their child's academic, social, and emotional skills.

Check out these eight tips for supporting autistic youth during summer break:

1. Maintain Morning and Evening Routines

Try to keep these times of the day as consistent as possible. For instance, eat breakfast and dinner at the same time as you would during the school year. Keep wakeup and bedtime the same too.

2. Split Up The Day

Splitting the day into smaller segments can help ease anxiety. Plan a walk, game, or music break at regular intervals so your child understands what’s happening next.

3. Keep Time

Many autistic students find it helpful to see a clock so that they know when an activity will start and stop. Some also like to have alarms set so they can prepare for what’s next.

4. Create Social Stories

Use pictures and a few simple words to help explain and prepare autistic kids for upcoming events or situations. For instance, if taking atrip to the beach, show them pictures of where you are going and talk about what you might wear and why.

5. Use Visual Supports

Teachers use these often in school. A calendar, pictures, drawings, objects, and lists are helpful tools that often serve as a form of communication for autistic students.

6. Continue Learning

Build and maintain academic, social, and emotional skills by helping your child learn through play. Turn everyday activities, like grocery shopping, into teachable moments.

7. Explore Special Interests

With the school year focused mostly on core subjects, summer can be a great time to explore special interests or discover new hobbies. It’s a perfect opportunity for your child to share their passions with you, which can deepen parent-child relationships.

8. Relax

Try to build in time each day for you and your child to decompress in a quiet environment. This will look different depending on the child, but might include time laying down, time outside in the garden, or time reading a book.

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