We have a support group for moms in the Tulsa area!
Our group meets the first Thursday of every month from 7-9p.
We welcome all moms who are parenting children who have Asperger's Syndrome.
For locations and last minute updates about meetings, check here or (even better) check our Facebook page.
We are currently meeting in the back room at Mazzio's on 51st & Sheridan in Tulsa.
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Summertime! And the Living is.....
Hey Summer People!!
We love summer. And...in some ways, not so much. Summer is a time of break, with pressure off for school, but it also brings with it a lack of schedule, something many of our kids don't exactly thrive on, as well as other "stuff" - some good, some challenging.
So..I thought I'd spend a few minutes on the good and challenging things of summer, and things to maybe keep in mind for all of us. We are all different and our kids are a million flavors of different (shaved ice should have so many flavors!), so some of this may apply and some not so much. Hopefully you will find this helpful, or at least help you consider some stuff:
Schedule: This is a biggie in my house. A few days of being in jammies until noon and watching brainless TV, and eating Cheetos and chex out of the box is a good thing for anyone...but note the "few days". More than that is not good for anyone - particularly our kids. We have always had the few days (4 tops), of nothingness on schedule as we are SO HAPPY to not be on such a strict schedule, but that quickly moves into aimlessness and feeling purposeless. Therefore, we have always followed the same routine since early elementary after the few days of nothingness. I print out a schedule that is a blank template calendar for each June, July and August in Landscape format for poor handwriting skill to handle the "per day" box size. We then sit down and make the calendar for all 3 months. I work, so there is a little legend we make for what activity or where he will be each day. We put weekly appointments with a time on it as well (music lessons, therapies,etc .) as well as when a vacation trip may fall. ALSO...we put when the schedule pick up is as well as when school starts. These calendars are displayed - one month at a time - in a prominent spot in our kitchen so they are always there. That serves so many functions: He knows where he will be each day, what is coming up, and when school gets close, we don't have to talk about it so much...it is always there on the calendar so he can work himself into when it is coming. In addition to the overall monthly calendar, I make up, I also make up a "list" that shows 4 or 5 things we will do the days I am home with him, in the order we will do them. It does not show times, and we can slide the listed items around as he prefers so he has control over his choices, but again, that helps add structure to the day, and bring down any unspoken anxiety over the lack of schedule.
We have always set limits from the day we start our summer schedule (after the 4 days or so of nothingness!) for how much "screen time" our kiddo has at a stretch. It's no secret that electronic screen time, from computer, to TV, to Apps do not exactly help our kids relate to the real world, so limitations are a good thing. Setting those at the start is MUCH easier than seeing how it goes and having to back track later.
Summer is a good time to try a new med. Most of us don't enjoy the fact that our kids may need medication at this point in their lives to deal with everyday "life", however, that is a truth that most of us live with. Summer is the only time that gives the grace of several weeks to try something new. It's also challenging that our kids are not in school to really know how the med works when school routine is on, however, it's the best time to check for side effects, and in general if a med is good or not so much. I would caution the thought of "med holiday's" for summer time. We all would love our kids to do without medication in entirety, however, as a wise therapist once told me: "you need your glasses to function each day don't you? For some of these kids that have issues with brain chemistry, some meds may indeed be what they need to function each day, just like your glasses." Also, for attention med's, if they are also helping impulsivity, which many of them do...summer is a time with it's own set of recreational dangers, and help with impulsiveness is a good thing to still have going on!
Although we are thrilled to pieces not having the homework grind every night, our kiddos brain does better when staying slightly engaged. We have always done something in the way of continued learning every summer. When he was in elementary, we bought fun "themed" type workbooks that had a good mix of all the school stuff, but were packaged as an activity book. As he has moved up in years, we use 3 or 4 times a week to do something he really needs the extra help with - subject specific. This has always helped him begin school easier and not be such a shock to his system in that he has actually had to hold a pencil a few times a week and use his brain before going back to all day at school!
If you have had a hard year, you may want to "cocoon" at home...however, that really does not help our kids progress in the real world. Try to find social settings to participate in, like a couple weeks of camp type activities (Camp Loughridge has an Autism program that is a great way to do just that), and there are other possibilities, even though you may have to work at it a bit. It will be worth it for our kids development.
Independence is something we should ALL have in mind, especially as our kids go to 13 and above. Even something simple like making sure they learn to make a PB&J, run a microwave, get their own snacks, etc. Summer is a great time to practice skills, as well as little things, like buying gum or water at a Quik Trip, etc. These are all little practices for independence.
Ok! Those are just a few ideas I wanted to share with you. Most of all, take time to enjoy your kiddo. We have to do just a little more work in the summer than our "neurotypical" friends do, but that's ok...remember, God made our kids for a purpose, and we have to always be helping them along to be ready when that purpose is revealed!
"May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us - yes, establish the work of our hands." Psalm 90:17