Transitioning Into a Summer Routine
Transitioning from a school routine into a summer routine is sometimes difficult for a student who has autism; however, the use of visual supports, communication supports, and familiar routines can ease the transition.
Daily schedules can be used to let the child know what activities to expect during the day and when they are going to occur. Weekly or monthly calendars can be used to showcase when new or highly anticipated events will occur.
Task Analysis Visual Supports:
If your student is working on functional skills that are performed in a step-by-step format (such as getting dressed, brushing their teeth, or using the bathroom independently), it may be beneficial to continue teaching that skill at home during the summer. When learning a new skill, it is important that the steps taken to perform the skill are done in the same order each time. Talk with your student's teacher to see if they are using visual supports to teach these skills in the classroom, and ask to have a copy of the supports sent home. Posting these visual supports where your child performs the task will help with acquisition, maintenance, and generalization of the skill.
If your child communicates using alternative or augmentative communication devices or supports, it is important to continue the use of these supports over the summer. For example, if your student communicates using PECS in the school environment it would be a good thing to use that same communication in the home environment.
Create a routine for your child to engage in during summer vacation days. It may be as simple as "get up, eat breakfast, self-care activities, and play outside," or it might be more complex and include a step-by-step breakdown of each different activity. You will know how best to meet your child's routine needs.
Generalizing Functional Skills:
Summer vacation is a great time to take the skills your student was working on in the classroom and practice them in the real world. If you have a student who is working on sorting and folding laundry as a functional goal in the classroom, practice those skills at home. Ask your student's teacher how they are teaching those skills, and then replicate the procedure in your home. If your child masters that skill in your home, try another new environment like a neighbor's or relative's home. Providing multiple opportunities to practice the skill ensures your child will retain that skill over the summer. Providing new environments to perform the skill in will help your child generalize the skill. Any functional skill a student is working on can be practiced in this way over summer vacation.