Autism Summer Fun for the Whole Family

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It’s here!  It’s here!  Summertime is here!  We are ready for some Autism summer fun for the whole family!

I love summertime with the kids.  Today is the first day of summer vacation.  The first thing we did this morning was have our summer vacation meeting at breakfast.  We went over all the rewards for positive behavior.  The consequences for negative behavior.  We went over the entire summer schedule of camps, school and Vacation Bible Schools.  We started to discuss our summertime “bucket lists” and made some notes.  We are ready for the road ahead!

Can you tell what I love?  What my older kids love?  What Declan needs?

A SCHEDULE

I love to know what is happening.  I love to know what to expect in the days ahead.  I like for everyone to have a say in the fun they would like to partake in this summer.  The one thing I have found – my kids love it, too!  They love to see what is happening in the weeks ahead.  They love to have a say in the summer fun.  AND they are SO MUCH BETTER when they know what is expected of them behavior wise, what to expect as far as consequence goes, and they love to work for the rewards.

I have also found there are activities to do in our free time that my older kids love to do, and are actually beneficial to Declan, my son with Autism.

POOL

All the kids love the pool.  My oldest son loves to go and swim, but also play soccer, baseball, football and basketball with all of his friends in the areas around the pool.  My daughter loves to pretend she is a mermaid.  To swim!  And my son with Autism, Declan, loves to be in water.  To swim, to play, to splash water.  And it is a perfect activity for him.  He is in the sun, he is doing heavy play and most likely, he will be socializing in some way with the swimmers around him.  A great activity to do for the family!

WATER PLAY

Some days, we just can’t make it to the pool.  I know how crucial it is to get Declan outside in the natural sunlight (he sleeps SO MUCH BETTER at night when he is exposed to natural sunlight).  When we can’t get out to the pool, we bring the pool to our deck.  In buckets.  The kids love it!  All of them!  Here they are last summer, all focused on one tiny red bucket…

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AND, THE WATER PLAYGROUND

Another blessing.  Can you believe we have a water playground near us?  A great big sprinkler system next to a playground.  My oldest son is kind of outgrowing the playground.  But this is a time he loves to go – he loves to pour water on the slide and see how fast he can go.  The other 2 just love running through the sprinklers and swinging on the swings.  Out in the sun, another great activity.

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BUBBLES, CHALK AND THE BELOVED SENSORY BOX

My older son has played in a summer street hockey league and now a summer basketball league.  So the kids and I spend a lot of time out side at his games and practices.  Declan doesn’t sit.  I don’t know if he will ever enjoy watching his older brother play sports, so I always have to keep a sensory bag of play ready to go.  The must have’s – bubbles, chalk and some sort of sensory play like kinetic sand or a sensory box.  And you know what?  That bag is a crowd pleaser for all kids in the area.  I had never heard of the sensory box until Declan’s Occupational Therapist when he was 2 introduced me to one.  And my goodness, I bring in kids from all around the park when I pop that thing out.  Everyone loves to run their fingers through dried rice, dried beans, matchbox cars and miscellaneous toys.  It’s great for everyone!

DAY TRIPS

Are you a member anywhere?  We are members at the zoo and will be spending some time there this summer.  The kids would also like to go to the aquarium, which we will try to do.  Picnics!  We live near a large State Park with a beautiful lake – a perfect area for the kids to play in, around and enjoy a picnic.  Do you have a Regal cinema nearby?  We do, and have found the one just a little farther away has the $1 kid movies on certain days for the summer.  My older kids love to go to the movies, and Declan does too – but if it is too loud or he just can’t sit still anymore, I know I can walk him around in the theater (the theater is loaded with squeaky kids – we don’t stand out too much already).  Or if we have to leave?  Well, it’s a bummer, but it’s a dollar and we can rent the movie at Redbox if we still want to see it again.

Keeping the kids on schedule is important for all us.  It brings us peace of mind.  Having a set of activities that ALL the kids like to do is great.  These are the activities for my family.  Hopefully they will work out for you too!  And going over expected behaviors, rewards and consequences, shown here, help us all so there is less yelling, crying and bad behaviors.

BEHAVIOR and CONSEQUENCES

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So from our family to yours, happy summer, everyone!

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