Top Ten Tips Summer Holiday Edition

Complex Needs

Following our tips for helping your child with autism at Christmas we thought it would be great to collate some new ideas for things to do over the summer holidays. As we know, the change from a fixed school routine to a six-week break can be quite daunting and unsettling for a child with autism. So, let’s take a look at some things that may help you over this period.

Plan a holiday.

If you are planning on taking a holiday, either in the UK or abroad there are many more considerations if you are taking with you children who have autism. The National Autistic Society has some great and thorough advice for anyone planning a holiday.

Holidays – guide for parents and carers (

Look for summer clubs in your local area.

School holiday clubs can be a great way of bringing some of the routine and familiarity that your child has at school whilst still having new experiences. Check out your local social media groups or ask your school for recommendations for inclusive summer clubs.

Organise a day trip.

Much like with booking a holiday, there is a lot to consider when taking your child with autism on a day trip but there is a lot of information available about ‘autism friendly’ days out with real reviews. There are also some great travel options in the local area. Have a look at Network Rail’s Autism Friendly guide to travelling by train.

Our autism friendly guide to travelling by train (

Make a holiday calendar.

If your child prefers to know what is coming, then it can be a great idea to make a calendar that will detail how the school holidays will look and when they will be returning to school. If there are any unfamiliar places or events. then you could create a social story to help prepare.

Plan activities in advance.

Speak to your child’s teacher about the activities that your child really enjoys at school and make sure that you have supplies at home to recreate this when needed, Stock up on things for baking or arts and crafts for days when you’re not able to go out and need a little familiarity.

Keep to routines.

Holidays always come with an element of change but where possible try to find some things that can remain consistent throughout the holidays. Whether this is bedtime, mealtimes, or anything else you can do to limit the changes that no school imposes.

Organise a play date.

If there is someone in your child’s class that they enjoy spending time with then ask their parents if they would be free to meet up over the holidays. This would give your child someone else to play with and bring an element of familiarity. Chances are they will be looking for things to do too.

Rest days.

Make sure that you plan plenty of rest and chill-out days into your schedule. It can be tempting to want to get out as much as you can but to avoid sensory overload it is super important to spend a good amount of time in a quieter environment. Don’t feel the pressure of the Instagram lifestyle!

Transition back to school.

It can be really beneficial to create a memory board or scrapbook of all the things you and your child got up to over the summer holidays. This can then be sent back to school on the first day back to smooth the transition.

Plan some time for you.

As with all holiday periods, there will be an element of stress in helping your child adapt to the change that the summer holidays bring. Make sure to prioritise some relaxation time for you too!


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