Making Summer a Season for Success

Transitioning to the summer season can be stressful for educators, parents, and students. Change is often difficult for children—particularly for students with autism and other developmental disabilities. We’ve put together some tips to make the transition between school and summer smooth and fun!

1. Keep Theme-Based Instruction Going  

Sunscreen Visual Strip

Theme-based instruction is the organization of content and materials around a specific topic. This kind of instruction is successful because it cements concepts, helps ideas become more relevant, and allows students to make their own connections. Parents can continue theme-based instruction at home with your help! To make the most of summertime themes, choose content to send home at the end of the year that parents can easily carry over into daily life: weather, safety, and vacations are topics that are both accessible and fun for most students. For example, this sequence strip for applying sunscreen is a great tool for parents to help their children generalize motor skills, identify body parts, and work on sequencing, all while increasing independence in adaptive behavior.

2. Offer Hands-On Activity Suggestions

Pair theme-based instructional materials with lessons that get students’ hands dirty. Give parents activity ideas that they can do with their children throughout the day: cooking simple recipes, gardening, and practicing other home-centered routines. Don’t forget about art! Crafting activities are a great way to reinforce skills like pattern recognition, fine motor skills, and following a sequence of steps. By practicing in a home setting, students can more successfully generalize the skills they’ve been working on at school for the past year.

3. Support Parents in Setting Up a Successful Learning Space

The setting in which students work is crucial to their learning. Set parents up with the knowledge they need to create a successful learning space in their home. If you have access to the Media Center, check out the Routine Essentials Independent Work Tip Sheet. It outlines suggestions, materials, and preparation instructions for creating an independent work station. Offer parents resources to systemize their children’s independent work over the summer so students can continue working on math, reading, and writing skills. 

Sending home materials and suggestions for the summer can help parents maintain their children’s progress, while also bridging the gap between grade levels. Use this parent newsletter to begin the conversation about setting up a summer plan. With the right supports, summer can be a successful season for all students!

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