Change and the holidays

It is a well know fact that children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder do not cope well with change and the holidays can be a very daunting and challenging time for parents and care givers.

Over the next few days I will be discussing a variety of ways that can help you, help your child cope with the change in their routine & environment.

Tip 1:   Avoid too much change even when you are away on holiday

Try and keep your child’s schedule as similar to the schedule they keep at school.

Let me give you an example:  If breakfast at school is at 9am then try and keep it at 9am.  If school starts with “music” and a morning greeting then play some music at home and/or sign a song or two prior to breakfast.  This can easily be planned into any activity you need to do with your child during the Holiday season.

We highly recommend that you discuss the school routine/schedule with your child’s teacher and align your activities in accordance with that.

Example of a BAD idea:  “taking your child to a friend’s house, the beach or a mall over the time they are used to having lunch”…  GOOD IDEA:  “feed your child lunch at home at the same time as they would normally eat lunch at school and then take them out.”    ALTERNATIVE IDEA:  If you can’t feed the child before you leave home then pack his/her meal into the school lunch-box and make sure that you give it to your child at about the time he/she would normally eat lunch.  We will even go as far as saying that you should feed them a similar meal as they would get at school and/or pack their food into the same lunch-box.

If the school has IPad or maybe reading time after lunch then you must understand that your child will associate lunch with this activity.  Skipping this could be very confusing for your child and if your child gets confused or he/she does not know what is happening it could spark some anxiety issues and possible behavioural problems.

…  tomorrow we will talk about transitioning time and allowing the child to adjust to a new environment.

Ilse Kilian-Ross
ilse@amazingk.co.za

Ilse Kilian-Ross is the owner of Amazing K, a registered ECD and Partial Care Facility in Johannesburg. Amazing K is a private adhd school, autism school and therapy centre for children from age 2 years where learners receive the best of both the schooling and therapy world. The autism school offers Individualized Education Programs, ABA, Speech- and Augmentive Alternative Communication (AAC) therapy as well as a full and adapted Academic Curriculum.