How to Help Your Teen Transition from School to Summer

7 blog avatar 1 How to Help Your Teen Transition from School to Summer
Expert Name:  Cindy Ring, MSW, LSW
Expert Title: MSW, LSW
Company Name:  Step By Step Inc.
Company URL: www.stepbystepacademy.org
Short Bio: Cindy is a clinical administrative associate with Step By Step Inc. Her responsibilities include designing research studies, protocols and evaluation tools, data collection and analysis and writing and editing grants and reports.

 Cindy is a member of the National Psychology Honor Society and a licensed social worker. She holds an MSW in Social Work Administration from Ohio State University, a BS in Psychology from Wright State University and is currently pursuing a PhD in Forensic Psychology from Walden University.

How to Help Your Teen Transition from School to Summer

Transitions are difficult for some teens with an autism spectrum disorder.  A transition that is like going from the school year into summer vacation can be very stressful for some teens, as much of their day structure is being taken away.  There are many things you can do to help your teen transition to summer break so that he or she can enjoy a great summer with less anxiety.

  1. Prepare ahead of time- Prepare way in advance of summer break.  Talk to your teen about what the summer means and what he or she will be doing over the summer, whether it is summer programming, camp, more free time, etc.  Let the teen know that the weather may be hotter and there may be more time to go outside and school will not happen for a few months.  Creating a social story about summer break sometimes helps.  List some of the fun things the teen can do in it. 
  2. Create a calendar for your teen to mark off– Having a calendar for your teen to mark days off is sometimes helpful so he or she has a visual representation of how many days of summer break are left and when school will start again.
  3. Make a fun list with your teen– Sometimes it helps to talk about and discuss all of the fun activities that your teen will have time to do with his or her free time in summer. For those teens who like to see visual representations, make a collage or poster about it.
  4. Create structure- Work with your teen to create a schedule every day.  The teen can pick out what activities he or she wants to do from a b\variety of items and put those activities on a daily schedule.  This is a great tool for visual representation and self-determination and choice making.
  5. Spread out the potentially stressful events– sometimes it is easier for teens with autism to ease into things gradually.  If your family is planning many family events this summer, try to spread them out so they are not happening right in top of each other.  This will give your teen time to process one event before the next one happens.
  6. Have a plan if things get ugly– if your teen is at any event and gets overstimulated, always have a back up plan that includes a safe place for you and your teen to get to in the event of a tantrum.  This should be a place with little sensory stimulation, a good temperature and quiet so the teen can chill out and re-group.

Being prepared ahead of time is the best defense you and your teen can have for a large transition like summer break.  With a little preparation and effort, your teen can have an awesome summer full of fun and meaningful activities!

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Being an RBT for me was extremely fun because where were you going to find a place where you can be completely silly without having to worry what people thought about you? This was the only job that made me feel like I could make a dramatic difference while being myself.

I also liked to be surrounded by people that had the same goals of wanting to help kids and the teamwork made the job much easier and more enjoyable.

Change and progress was the ultimate goal for our kiddos. The early intervention program was seriously only a miracle because I saw changes in the kiddos that from day one, you wouldn’t even recognize who they were.

Changes from being able to utter 3-4 words where they can only make a syllable from when they started, the behavior decreases in which kiddo that used to engage in 30-40 0 self-harm to only half, learning how to wait during games, table work where they use to swipe and drop to the floor if they had to.

My favorite was when the parents would tell us what amazing progress they were making at home. I used to tear up and felt for these parents so much because it was already difficult for them and now, they can trust and rely on ABA and the therapists knowing their goal was ours.

By Emma Rogers, BA, RBT

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