Home / News / Helping Children With Autism Thrive In Summer When The Routine Changes – Hartford Courant

Helping Children With Autism Thrive In Summer When The Routine Changes – Hartford Courant

During the nice and cozy months, youngsters can lose a number of the educational momentum they gained over the varsity yr. This “summer slide” is a danger for all youngsters, particularly these with autism.

“There are 10 weeks of no school. Ten weeks is a very long time,” says Sharon Cable, of Canton. Her son, Alex, now 23, appreciated the construction of the varsity day and have become very anxious when the routine modified in June. So, he participated within the Summer Social Skills Immersion program on the FOCUS Center for Autism in Canton. Experts say trip is definitely a good time for teenagers with autism to study in a enjoyable, totally different approach.

“Summer is key,” says Donna Swanson, government director and co-founding father of the FOCUS Center for Autism, open since 2000. “It’s when — I think — we do our absolute best teaching. It’s different than being in school. [The kids are] more open, they’re more relaxed.”

The summer time program, for teenagers ages 6 by means of 18, runs 3 times every week from June 27 to Aug. 17, in cooperation with The Wilderness School in East Hartland. The youngsters take hikes, full crafts and work with animals. They additionally embark on subject journeys to expertise new individuals and locations. “They learn how to transition, how to be out in the community which is really important. They want to belong,” says Swanson.

The FOCUS Center for Autism has grown and now features a faculty. The Fresh Start School is a brand new, state authorised program for youngsters with autism spectrum dysfunction between the ages of 11 and 18. “We’re really a clinical program. We address the psychiatric, emotional needs that are getting in the way — that are the barriers that keep kids from being in a regular school system,” explains Swanson.

The faculty makes use of milieu remedy, which makes use of on a regular basis occasions and interpersonal interactions for sensible studying. “We teach kids how to manage their anxiety, how to navigate, how to advocate for themselves. Instead of using behavior, they use their words,” she says. Fifteen college students are at present enrolled within the faculty. A commencement ceremony shall be held Wednesday.

Swanson, who has a background in nursing, advises mother and father with youngsters on the spectrum to faucet into their pursuits throughout summer time months to maintain them engaged and never depending on devices with screens.

Alex is now passionate concerning the theater, collaborating in productions of “The Wizard of Oz,” “Pinocchio” and “Shrek.” “It makes me happy because all those people who didn’t think I’d amount to anything — I was able to prove them wrong,” he says.

He finds the identical camaraderie on stage that he discovered on the FOCUS summer time program. “He had friends,” says his mother. “He learned how to interact appropriately with other kids his age. That was huge for him.”

For extra info, log onto focuscenterforautism.org.

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