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Summer Activities for Your Autistic Loved One

Summer can be an excellent time to engage in activities with your autistic child, teen, or loved one. While every individual is unique, and their interests and abilities may vary, here are some activities that you can consider making the most of the summer season:

1. Outdoor Adventures

Nature Walks: Enjoy the beauty of nature with a leisurely walk in a park or nature reserve. Encourage sensory exploration by letting your loved one touch leaves, smell flowers, and listen to the sounds of the outdoors.
Picnics: Plan a picnic in a serene outdoor setting. Pack favorite foods and let them relax and enjoy the surroundings.


2. Sensory Play

Water Play: Set up a water table or sprinkler in the backyard for refreshing sensory play. Many autistic individuals find water play therapeutic and enjoyable.
Sensory Bins: Create sensory bins with different textures like rice, beans, or kinetic sand. These can provide a soothing and tactile experience.

3. Art and Creativity


Painting Outdoors: Engage in outdoor painting activities. Utilize nature as inspiration for their artistic expression.
Craft Projects: Engage in simple craft projects that allow your loved one to explore their creativity at their own pace.

4. Structured Activities

● Swimming: Swimming can be an excellent activity for individuals on the autism spectrum. Look for structured swimming programs tailored to autistic individuals.
Summer Camps: Consider enrolling your child/teen/adult in a summer camp designed for autistic individuals. Camps often provide a supportive, inclusive environment and engaging activities. Enroll early!

5. Relaxation and Routine

● Yoga and Mindfulness: Encourage relaxation through simple yoga poses and mindfulness activities. Calming exercises can help reduce anxiety and promote a sense of calm. Contact your local community centers and inquire if classes are available for autistic individuals or persons needing extra support and attention.
Maintain a Routine: While it’s important to incorporate fun activities, maintaining a predictable routine can provide a sense of security and structure.

When planning summer activities, it’s crucial to consider individual preferences, sensitivities, and comfort levels. Always prioritize one’s well-being and allow flexibility in the activities to ensure a positive and enjoyable experience.

References:

Fancourt, D., Garnett, C., Spiro, N., West, R., & Müllensiefen, D. (2019). How do artistic creative activities regulate our emotions? Validation of the Emotion Regulation Strategies for Artistic Creative Activities Scale (ERS-ACA). PloS one, 14(2), e0211362. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.021136

Innovations, B. (2024, April 16). Summer activities for children with autism. Behavioral Innovations. https://behavioral-innovations.com/blog/summer-activities-for-children-with-autism/

Summer Activities for Kids with Autism or Sensory Processing Disorders. (n.d.). Easter Seals. https://www.easterseals.com/support-and-education/living-with-autism/summer-activities-for-kids-with-autism.html