We’ve just started our Easter holidays. Two weeks stretch ahead of us, which can be a challenge for all parents, not least those of us with autistic children. So today I’m sharing my five tips for organising Easter holidays for autistic children.
Keep it simple;
Autistic children can be easily overstimulated. In this house overstimulation leads to meltdowns and some pretty whacky behaviour. So we keep it simple. If you plan a big day out then leave the next day as a home day. Or plan activities for mornings and keep the afternoons free for down time. I usually schedule a mixture of both and keep at least one full day for just relaxing at home.
Make a planner;
All my children, including the autistic ones, like to know what’s happening each day. So we have a wall planner all year round which I update at the beginning of each week with the week’s schedule.
Whatever format works best for you child, be that pictures, words or a combination of the two, make a planner at the beginning (or even better in advance of) the week. Then make sure your child has seen it and regularly refer to it each day to remind them.
If a weeks planner is too complicated for your child you could do day planners, or now and next to plan out your day.
Leave time for special interests;
My children need to pursue their special interests each day in order to feel in control and calm. So each day we make time for this. For Super Kid that’s an hour a day of video gaming and for Wonder Girl TV time.
Remember sensory needs;
My children need to have their sensory needs addressed daily. For Wonder Girl that means doing her yoga each morning which seems to help her start the day calmly (cosmic kids yoga channel on YouTube, highly recommend). She also enjoys rolling on her exercise ball, bouncing on the trampoline, and spending time in the room with the sensory lighting. For Super Kid that means using his lap weight when he’s gaming, making sure he has fiddle toys available at all time to avoid face picking and sensory lights when needed.
Whatever your children’s sensory needs make sure you don’t get rushed and carried away with the holiday period and make time to address them.
For more information about sensory needs see my blog post on the topic.
Follow your child’s lead;
Keep your detective hat on. Monitor your children and notice when they are struggling. Cancel or make plans accordingly.
For us that might including cancelling plans because they need down time. Or heading out for a walk because they need to burn off steam and be in nature. It might mean scheduling the whole day out for them (including meal times) if they’re particularly anxious, so they know exactly whats happening. Or writing a social story about a sibling squabble to help them to process.
Whatever your plans I hope you have a lovely holiday. I won’t be blogging next week as we’re away at Centre Parcs and I want to take some time to focus on my family. Back to business as usual the following week.