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Summer Planning

It's hard to believe that yesterday kicked off summer, While children have been out of school for a couple of weeks, many are just starting to start new routines with camps, programs, and vacations. This means a change in daily routine, and most parents agree that disruption of schedules is not always the easiest to handle. Parents of neurodivergent children know this even better. Preparing a neurodivergent child for summer vacation involves a combination of planning, structure, and flexibility. But the right resources and routine can make summer fun, productive, and memorable.


Plan.


  1. Create a Visual Schedule: Invest in a visual planning app to outline the activities and events planned for each day during summer vacation. For children who are too young for smartphones, use visual aids like calendars or pictures. Visual plans help children understand what to expect and reduce anxiety around unknown situations.

  2. Prepare for Transitions: Changes in routine and transitions between activities can be challenging for neurodivergent children. These disruptions can quickly lead to being overwhelmed or overstimulated. Prepare them for transitions by giving warnings or cues beforehand, and establish clear routines for transitioning between activities. Your visual schedule can also help alleviate stress by showing them their day in advance.


  1. Plan Structured Activities: Plan structured activities that align with your child's interests and abilities. These activities could include arts and crafts, outdoor adventures, visits to sensory-friendly places, or joining summer camps specifically designed for children with autism or other neurodivergent conditions.

Provide.

  1. Supply Sensory Support: Many neurodivergent children have sensory sensitivities. Be mindful of their sensory needs and provide necessary support, such as noise-canceling headphones, sunglasses, or sensory toys, especially during outings or activities in new environments.

  2. Maintain Routine: While summer vacation often means a break from the regular school routine, try to maintain consistency in daily routines as much as possible. Consistency helps children feel secure and comfortable.

  3. Enable emotional regulation. When routines get disrupted, or senses get overloaded, it’s vital to have resources or tools that help your child regulate. The THRIVE app not only offers comprehensive visual planning but also provides specific resources that allow your child to decompress as needed.



Put into Action.

  1. Stay Flexible: While structure is important, it's also essential to remain flexible and adaptable. Unexpected changes or challenges may arise during summer vacation, so be prepared to adjust plans accordingly and provide support as needed.

  2. Encourage Independence: Allow your child to participate in planning activities and making choices whenever possible. Encouraging independence fosters confidence and self-esteem.

  3. Communicate Openly: Maintain open communication with your child about summer plans, expectations, and any concerns they may have. Encourage them to express their feelings and preferences and validate their experiences.

  4. Practice Social Skills: If your child struggles with social interactions, practice social skills in a controlled environment before summer vacation begins. Role-play scenarios or use social stories to help them understand social cues and appropriate behavior.

Finally, remember to take care of yourself. Summer vacation can be demanding, so prioritize self-care to ensure you have the energy and patience to support your child effectively.


By incorporating these strategies, parents can help their child have a positive and enjoyable summer vacation while also promoting growth and development. 


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