Summer Isn’t Over

During the first week of August, it seems that the first day of school is the focal point of conversations and activities for nearly everyone in my corner of the world. But many of my friends with autism live in the present moment, so they are not at all interested in the future. And those who do get caught up in “first day of school” fever can become obsessed with the event or agitated with the long wait. I encourage families of school-aged youngsters with autism to make the most of today rather than focusing on an event that is several weeks away.

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One strategy for making the most of each day is to plan a “Summer Special” – an event that a youngster can look forward to each day in August. This can be something very simple, a fun activity that celebrates summertime. For example, you could add any one of these activities on a calendar each day in August:
1. playing in the water sprinkler
2. giving the garden or trees or birds a drink
3. counting stars and fireflies as they emerge after sunset
4. making lemonade
5. guessing which of two ice cubes will melt first on a hot sidewalk
6. collecting shells or rocks or sticks in a box
7. getting up early to watch the sun rise
8. writing a letter to grandmamma
9. taking a trip to the library every other day
10. making homemade ice cream or popcorn or other fun snack

TIP FOR THE DAY: The idea is to find some simple activities your child or your friend with autism enjoys, then put one on the calendar each day. This helps decrease the agitation of waiting, and it helps everyone celebrate the current day rather than focusing on a future event.

NOTE TO READERS AND LISTENERS: I am Cathy Knoll, a board certified music therapist and long-time friend of many folks with autism. At we are committed to providing free, practical, everyday tips for making life better for people with autism. Feel free to send me a confidential email at with your thoughts or challenging situations or innovative solution. And don’t forget to check out our website for a wealth of ideas and a glimpse into the world of autism.

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