With the school year coming to a close, and the sudden extra free time that summer brings, it can be a challenge filling your child’s schedule with fun and beneficial activities. Thankfully, you are not alone in this struggle; nationwide programs and local community centers are an accessible and highly valuable resource to provide your child on the autism spectrum with plenty of productive fun during the summer months.
These recreation programs can focus on a wide range of activities, from sports, arts and crafts, to animal therapy. By adding time at a recreation center to your child’s schedule, you are providing a structured time of fun they can count on, which is very helpful for relieving anxiety for children with ASD.
Having your child engage in activities at a recreation center is perfect for helping build motor skills, promoting social interaction, and learn helpful behavior skills. Autism-focused programs use trained staff that know how to handle problematic behaviors in a way that will be helpful. In addition, these programs are often a great form of respite care to provide you with free time to practice self-care.
The YMCA is an organization that has been adopting autism-specific programs to more and more of their community centers. These programs offer swimming lessons, athletic games, fun arts and crafts, and much more. Since trained staff are present to supervise, parents can enjoy a bit of time off while their child is having a great time with other kids.
The Autism Society is a nationwide organization with local affiliates in most metro areas that offer recreation programs, summer day camps, and social activities for children on the autism spectrum. These programs are typically easy to find since there are many Autism Society programs around the nation. They are also highly approachable and are usually free of charge since they come from public grants.
The American Autism Association is a smaller group that offers some truly amazing programs for children on the autism spectrum. Operating in New York City and Miami, they offer four highly engaged and beneficial programs: a special needs soccer clinic, an inclusive ballet class, horseback riding classes, and a basketball program for adults with autism. All of these programs are free of charge for low-income families.
These are just a few examples of some of the great community center programs that could be right in your neighborhood. Take some time to do some research, and discover what resources are near you to help you and your child have a summer filled with fun, learning, and growth. If you know of or find some great community programs in your area, join our Facebook group community of over 3,000 other parents and share them! More than likely, there’s a family near you that would love to hear about it.
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CEO/Formulator Spectrum Research Group
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