Typically, the “Summer Slide” is all about academics. But for children, tweens and teens with autism or other challenges, the summer slide can mean forgetting about their school routines.
We’re well into summer vacation here in Canada but it’s not too early to start thinking about September and if your child will be ready to start back to school.
Here are 5 ways to beat the summer slide and keep those routines up!
1. Read, Read and Read!
Stats have shown that spending time reading with your child can help improve their language arts literacy. If your child is able to read, then choose a book with a reading level that they are fluent in and have them read aloud to you.
This can be done when you’re preparing dinner or any other time when you have 5 or 10 minutes to spend together. Reading to your child at bedtime or any other time during the day has also been proven to help increase their literacy.
Talk about the book – if it has pictures have your child predict what will happen. If it is a chapter book, have them predict what may happen in the next chapter based on what they just read.
2. Create a Writing Passion!
Along with reading, have your child do some printing/writing. Research shows that reading and writing go hand in hand. They could write two sentences or more depending on their ability, on what they did on the weekend or any topic that interests them.
Their favorite ice cream, a favorite movie, – just let them put their ideas into their own words and don’t worry if the spelling isn’t quite correct. Getting their ideas down on paper is the goal. You could even do a scrapbook – have them draw a picture of what they are writing about or print off a photo of a favorite event. For older students challenge them to add more detail to their sentences by asking the questions who, what, where, when, why.
3. Preparation Is Key!
For children that are anxious about going back to school in September, contact the classroom teacher and ask about the classroom routines that will be set up for the first week or two. What will be done on the first day – you could discuss this with your child and talk about their feelings. The only thing to remember is not to make it too concrete in case the teacher’s plan changes.
4. Let Your Child Help Pick Out School Supplies!
This was always a must in our household and while it was stressful for mom, it was great to see the kids excited about getting their supplies ready to go back to school. You can even turn this into a math lesson – cut the items out of the flyers and compare prices. Add up what the items will cost so that they know what the cost will be.
This can also help with the requests for extra items that aren’t on the list!! Be on the lookout for items that can help with any sensory challenges that your child may have. Chewigem has a wide range of items from chewelry to fidgets and even a pencil case set with chewable contents that look like typical school tools!! (watch for our special deal on the Pencil Case set coming up in August!)
If your school isn’t quite sure about allowing your child to use focus tools, there is much research on how fidgeting and chewing can help self-regulation. If you need the information to present to your school, let us know!
5. Prepare a School Visit!
For those that are anxious about heading back into the school, arrange with the school and the teacher to do a visit once the school is back open and before the first day of school.
Ideally, it would be great if your child could pick where he/she will sit in the classroom (their desk or table spot) and where their jacket and backpack will go. If your child will be using a locker, choosing it ahead of time will be helpful so that they know where it is and can head to it first thing upon arrival. Combination locks may be required for their locker – if your child can manage one – fantastic! If combination locks are a challenge, arrange for them to have a key lock with the teacher or the office keeping the extra key.
While on the school visit, it is beneficial to your child to meet any new staff in the school so that they can put a face to a name. As a parent, you can make the new staff aware (if they aren’t already) of any challenges your child may have during their class i.e.: gym, music or home ec.
Tour the entire school so that your child can see any changes that may have happened over the summer – classrooms changing, changes to the playground etc.
We hope that these 5 ways to beat the summer slide will help you during the break and will hopefully make the start back in September easier!
If you need any more support on ways to beat the summer slide, why not join our Sensory Support Group!