Autism and Summer Issues

autism in summer

Teenager Allie Gleason is a high school student who volunteers at Educator Labs. She is a supporter of all involved in the Autism Spectrum Community and uses her writing as an outlet to help other teens and kids like her. In a recent post she discusses her techniques on getting through her least favorite season: summer.

For other kids, summer break is something to look forward to- no more school and no more waking up early! There’s more time to hang out with friends, go to the beach, and go on awesome family vacations. But Allie had a different perspective. As a child with Asperger’s, she felt uneasy at the thought of summer break. Structure is very important to her, so when her routine is disrupted it causes anxiety.  Here are some things Allie shares that helped her out of anxiety and allowed her to enjoy summer.

Learning to swim.

Being in the water alone was Allie’s routine. As she got older her mother signed her up for swimming lessons and when she got good she began to enjoy it a lot more. Soon, summer became a time where she was able to do an activity she liked and she began to make friends in the sport.

Aquatic activities have many benefits for those on the spectrum. You can work on motor development skills, improve mental health, and keep other kids safe.

Sensory processing disorder.

Summer equals beach and beach equals sand –a lot of sand! People love going to the beach on a sunny day and burying their toes. But for those with a sensory processing disorder, the experience is not always pleasant.

Allie brought this issue up to her Occupational Therapist who worked with her to get used to the texture. Although sand is still something she doesn’t like, Allie can manage the discomfort and be able to enjoy a day in the ocean.

Traveling comfortably.

For Allie, the actual vacation wasn’t the issue, it was getting there that caused her anxiety. Especially airports and airplanes where there are a lot of people and a lot of noise. It was helpful knowing what to expect at every step like at check-in or at security. She also brought her iPad or iPhone along so she can be comforted with music and preoccupy her while she travels.

If the thought of summer is unsettling, you’re not alone. Allie too felt the same things every year. But that didn’t stop her from learning to enjoy the sunny season.

By Raiza Belarmino