Even during these unprecedented times, families affected by autism can participate in fun activities that are enriching and refreshing.
To get the most enjoyment from families activities, be proactive and have a plan.
Here are some helpful tips to get you started:
Prepare Your Child Ahead of Time:
Use words and pictures to help your child understand and anticipate what will occur during family outings and activities. Talk about: where you will go; what you will do; and who you will see.
Mark the date of the activity on the calendar and do a daily countdown to the actual day.
Find Places of Peace:
Determine a quiet place at your destination that your child can go to when feeling overwhelmed. Pack and bring preferred items that will help your child feel comfortable and safe (ex: headphones, tablet, favorite toy/book). If your child needs to find a place of peace and sensory replenishment, talk about how it helped them to feel better.
Collect Positive Memories:
While engaged in the family activity, remind your child how well they are doing and reinforce their positive behavior. Take and share pictures of the family activity afterwards. Talk about the experience, including details of where you went, what you did and who you saw.
Always remember that each experience is another step toward positive growth and leads to more success in future activities!
Marlena Pikulinska, LBA-BCBA, is a Clinical Supervisor at Beyond Boundaries.