The information contained in this section has been developed for parents of children who have transitioned to school and are approaching their first school holiday period (i.e. end of Term 1), however the information is applicable for any holiday period.
School holidays can be a big change in routine that need consideration and planning. School holidays are usually an opportunity for children and families to relax and have a break.
However, for the child with ASD who may thrive on the routine and structure of the school day, holidays may be stressful and challenging. For example, removing the predictability of the school routine could result in increased anxiety and challenging behaviours. Challenging behaviour can occur when children are not sure what to do with their time or when they do not know what is expected of them.
Of course, not every child with ASD will find the school holidays stressful. Time away from the demands of the classroom can be a positive experience for some children and the return to school after a period of 'down time' at home can be the greatest challenge. It is important that children are prepared for the move back to school as this usually provides some amount of stress to most children.
Parents may worry that they are required to plan fun-filled and entertainment packed events every day of the holidays. School holidays do not need to be filled with activities at every hour of the day or require parents to spend large amounts of money or resources. There are a range of strategies that you can put in place and resources you can access to assist in ensuring school holidays are relaxing and enjoyable for all. Most important is the need to consider, plan and prepare for activities, outings or routines that suit your child, your family and the time and resources you have available.
Some time also needs to be set aside to prepare for the new school term or year so that the family is prepared, equipment and uniforms are organised and when possible, routines have been practised.
The following tip sheets and templates can help you to plan the school holiday period and the return to school: