Summer Planning for Kids with Autism

While in many areas it is still cold or rainy, we are hitting the 90’s and above here. It is also almost time for school to be out and I will be left with my wonderful son while my husband works his second job. It is time for me to plan out our summer. My son is easily bored and loves to be active, while I have complex medical issues that limit my activity level and stamina, so our days have to be a mix of activity and rest. Here are some of the things I have planned already. I will add to the list as time goes on.

  • Swimming at the YMCA and my parent’s house (The YMCA offers discounts to families in need, it is worth applying to see if you can get help).
  • Benjamin’s theater classes. I was told that one of the best things we can do for Benjamin is put him in theater where he will learn to at least act the correct emotions to situations even if he doesn’t exactly feel it. He loves the class and is doing better than I ever would have expected.
  • We have a family pass to the local museum, and will probably get one to the local Children’s museum and visit there often.
  • The library has a great reading program, as do many local stores and bookstores. We usually are involved in all of them. My son is a great reader thanks to the example of his parents and teachers.
  • Some kind of sport. Our counselor has suggested we enroll Benjamin in a team sport, so we are looking for a good opportunity. I would prefer soccer, basketball, or karate, as they are indoors. He likes baseball. We’ll see what our local YMCA has to offer and what we can afford.
  • Frequent Library visits. We have to have books to feed the reading habit and get the prizes.
  • Playdates with friends. I would love to find a group that helps socialize children with autism, but will settle for inviting friends over at least twice a week just to keep him happy and busy and socializing.
  • Family vacations to family reunions. We don’t get to travel a lot, but do try to make it a priority to see family whenever possible. We are lucky that all our family reunions will fall within the same 10-day period.
  • Summer bridge activities. I am pretty good at incorporating learning into everything that we do, as is my husband. This year I am going to make a special effort to teach Benjamin to write and love writing, as that is one of his major weaknesses, and something that they just don’t really teach at school. I will be using the program Handwriting Without Tears. I will also allow him to learn to type things on a computer as that is an adaptable skill that he will also need for the future.

Where we live it is too hot to go outside on most summer days, unless you are swimming. So, we have a lot scheduled for inside. Ultimately I would also love to go camping as a family and teach my son to ride his bike. I would love any and all suggestions, as I will have a lot of long summer days cooped up with a very active and demanding 8-year-old. He doesn’t play imaginatively, and he constantly wants attention, which is fine, but I also have my own work to do, and will need him to play independently at least some of the time. I want to create a list of things for him to choose from whenever he is bored, but am quickly running out of ideas myself. Last year he went to Lego Camp with his father all summer and had a blast. This year he can’t go, so it’s up to me to provide him with a great summer experience. Help! :)

How do you keep your kids busy all summer? What are your favorite summer activities?

Photo: Gewel Maker/Flickr


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