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4 fun ways to teach new skills this summer

autism parenting education public outings Jun 27, 2022

Summers feel like a time warp. I usually don't recover from homeschooling until around July 4; by then, the summer is nearly over and I feel like a failure.

Fear not! I have four fun ways you can help your student build new academic and social skills that you can start anytime.

1. Go to the movies. Movie theater attendance hasn't really bounced back after COVID, which means nearly every movie theater chain in America offers cheap summer showings for kids, some as low as $1.50. This is an excellent opportunity for special needs families, because it eliminates the pressure to "get your money's worth."

Most kids who are severely affected by autism can only last 10-15 minutes in a movie theater at first. If that only costs a few bucks, it relieves financial anxiety and frees you to create a positive experience.

Plus, when the entire theater is filled with kids, your kid can make stimming noises without disturbing others.

2. Go out to eat. The best way to begin building restaurant skills to is start at a donut or ice cream shop. The limited choices, quick service and washable surfaces are perfect for nonverbal diners. Plus, lazy summer mornings allow you to take your time and make it a positive experience.

3. Learn an alphabet floor puzzle. Nonspeaking autistic kids are usually great at puzzles. Floor puzzles are excellent teaching tools because they don't require sitting at a table. This one is our favorite for ABCs. If you're unsure if your child knows the alphabet, try a floor puzzle. If they put it together easily, they're ready to begin reading! Check out this blog post for an instructional video.

4. Take swimming lessons. Kids with autism are 160 times more likely to die from drowning than neurotypical kids. If you can afford adaptive swimming lessons, they are worth every penny. If you can't, many municipalities and private organizations offer scholarships for this need. Here in California, some counties offer this service through the state's First 5 program. Autism Speaks and The Autism Society also have scholarship programs for this need. I used the online search terms "autism swimming lesson scholarship" and found many resources.

Enjoy your summer and happy learning! =D

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