Day one of the summer holidays and our youngest son woke up with the words 'is it school today?' I have followed my own advice and done the countdown chart to prepare him for the summer holidays over the past few days. Yesterday he seemed to have understood that the summer holidays had now begun. He does struggle with the concept of time awareness though. When I explained it’s the holidays now and showed him what we have planned for the new few days on a visual holiday timetable he said 'I start Year 1 on Monday then!' It’s going to be a long 6 weeks for him.
Our daughter’s day began with tantrums as she did not want to accompany us to a birthday party that our youngest son had been invited to at a soft play area. Once she arrived, you couldn’t get her out of the place. All of my kids love rough and tumble play, so it’s an ideal environment for them. It helps with sensory processing difficulties that two of them suffer with. We went to a Jungle Jim’s soft play centre, which is perfect for children with ASD, as it’s not too big and so doesn’t get too noisy or crowded and it has a sensory corner. I’ve noticed on their website that once a month they hold an evening for Children with Complex Needs and their families to enjoy the soft play area http://www.junglejimsplayland.co.uk/special.html
Since we returned home from the party, the day has gone steadily downhill and there have been plenty of tears and tantrums, due to the lack of structure that a school day gives my two children with ASD. Then our ‘neurotypical’ son has been upset by the high level of attention his siblings have demanded from me. It’s a juggling act and it will get easier as the holidays go on, as all the kids will get used to being at home together with one another every day, rather than being out at school. Although I try to ensure there is some structure to the holidays and visual timetables highlight the activities we have planned for each day, I leave room for free time, as it’s an important skill to learn how to occupy yourself. We have a variety of activity books, puzzles, games and craft projects that can be dipped in and out of during the holidays
I can feel the need to stock up in chocolate to get me through the holidays. However I'm resisting the urge so far as I am trying hard to get fit. A friend and I have started walking of an evening and so far this week we have clocked up 12 miles. It’s a great way to have some me time, conversation with another adult and will give me the energy to start afresh tomorrow and see what day two of the holidays brings. It can only improve.