Summer and Autism spectrum, school is out and things are about to change. For kids on the spectrum this can lead to anxiety. I found transitions worked better with lots of preparation. Whenever we go away we make sure that Sadie knows exactly where we are going, sometimes by reminding her of past visits to certain locations like the beach which she loves, or, if it’s a new destination by showing lots of pictures from websites, YouTube or books.
When traveling you should make sure that you pack plenty of comforting items that will remind your child of home.
- Favourite blanket
- Their pillow
- Stuffed animal
- Favourite snacks and treats.
- Music or TV show
We as a family have been lucky that we found a beautiful little beach called White strand in Co Kerry Ireland or as we have nick named it the Autism beach. This beach fits our needs perfectly it's small so Sadie can run up and down without me having to continuously chase after her, and it’s quiet because there are less people around.
However one of the biggest issues that come with trips to the beach is of course being around water.
Being safe around the water
Like so many children with autism Sadie is strongly drawn to the water, but she does not fully understand the dangers of it. In Ireland due to our "fantastic" traditional damp drizzling summers, our Irish culture is not one of inground or above ground swimming pools. However when the Irish summer does decide to appear, we tend to buy blow up pools for the day or two that’s in it. So my advice is for parents whose child is near any open water such as a lake, pool, fountain, pond, river, or hot tub.
- If your family is at the pool or beach find the right life jacket that best meets the needs of your child.
- Always make sure you or another adult supervise and not an older child.
- You should be in a position to respond quickly and always hold your child’s hand when you’re near open water.
- When at home you should always be sure to drain bathtubs and other small containers of water when you are finished using them. If you happen to be lucky enough to live in a country where outdoor pools are more prevalent due to your summers, be sure to put safety locks, motion detectors or alarms on all pools, hot tubs and any other water sources around your home.
At the end of the day one of the best things you can do as a parent is to try to introduce your child to water from a very young age. Understand your child’s fascination with water. This news story explains that some children on the autism spectrum are especially attracted to water because of its “reflection and movement.” If you understand this about your child, you can take steps to educate them about water and protect them from danger.