Child & Family Development Child & Family Development

May 9, 2016

must read from ASNC: Surviving Summer with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Society of North Carolina

The Autism Society of North Carolina has republished an excellent resource- written by some of Charlotte’s ASMC parent advocates, Nancy Popkin and Kim Tizzard- called “Surviving the Summer with Autism Spectrum Disorder”

According to the post, these expert moms recognize the challenges of summer including: 

  • Change in schedule and routine
  • Sensory challenges
  • Travel
  • Extended family members who don‚Äôt understand autism

They have these tested solutions for survival:  


  • Build routine into your days (regular waking, eating, etc. times)
  • Make a calendar showing special (and mundane) events
  • Use visual schedules
  • Consider your child‚Äôs interests and plan outings that include special interests. 
  • Consider skills to keep fresh (academic) and skills to work on (self-help, daily living) during the summer months.  Build these into the routine of the day.  


  • Visualize exactly what you will be doing with your child with autism.  Consider situations that may entice or present a challenge.  These include sensory concerns (noises, visuals, smells), boundaries or lack there of, temptations or distractions.
  • Call ahead to inquire about above.
  • Communicate with family members ahead of time and explain your child‚Äôs needs.  Let them know if you will be bringing any special foods or equipment to help your child feel comfortable.
  • Have accessible/make portable any tools or supplies necessary to assist or assure smooth travels:
    • Schedules
    • Visual Communication Systems
    • Calming Tools
    • Snacks
    • Change of clothes
    • Medications
  • Have an Emergency Plan.  How will you communicate your child‚Äôs needs to anyone who may assist?  How will someone identify your child? Carry a picture of your child.
  • Use written social scenarios to help your child visualize new social situations or activities and how to handle them.

Read the full article here to access sample schedule templates, holiday/event-specific ideas and many parent comments.  Add one of your own!

The Child and Family Development multidisciplinary team of therapists endorses these ideas and encourage families to connect with Autism Society in their community.

Read more about our autism services here.