June 25, 2014

epic-news-autism-summer-learning-austin-texas-pediatric-therapy-speech-language-pathology-healthy-habitsChildren with autism reap many benefits from receiving pediatric therapy services, including learning and developing new and helpful skills. Now that school is out for the summer, how can you ensure your child does not forget those skills over the break?

Our Austin therapy team shares these five simple tips to help you get started:

Establish a Routine
Encourage your child to go to bed, wake up and eat breakfast at the same time each day. If your child has sensory feeding issues, use this time to introduce new foods, food combinations and textures.

If you’re potty training your child, maintain a regular routine with scheduled meals, snacks and drinks. This can help you determine when she naturally needs to use the bathroom and make potty training more successful.

Incorporate Goals into Everyday Activities
Contact your child’s therapist to request a list of goals she is targeting and incorporate the goals into your routine. For example, if your child receives occupational therapy services, you may include crafts such as finger painting or drawing into the weekly schedule.

Make everyday activities, such as grocery shopping, a part of the weekly routine as well and use them as learning opportunities. For example, if your child is working toward saying single words or phrases, name items aloud as you place them in your shopping cart to reinforce learning.

Use Visuals
Use pictures from the internet, magazines or newspapers to create a daily schedule.Use the same picture for the same activity consistently for each daily schedule.For example, a picture of a tree may represent an outdoor activity.

Take Breaks
Give your child a picture, a word or a word from sign language to indicate when it is time for a break. Create a choice board with 2-5 different pictures of activities that aren’t in the daily routine and allow your child to choose the activities to do during breaks.

Have Fun
Schedule time in your child’s routine for free play and use a timer to introduce new activities. Your child may only be able to tolerate five minutes of an activity during the first week, but up to 15 minutes by the third week.

Contact your child’s therapist for a list of community resources and events to participate in during the summer, and feel free to modify your summer routine as you learn what works best for your child. But, most importantly, have fun!

To learn more about our pediatric therapy services and how they can help your child, visit our website.

Megan Zigler-Johnson, M.S., CCC-SLP
Therapy Lead
Austin, Texas