Helping kids with autism thrive in the summer when the routine changes

CANTON - During the warm months, kids can lose some of the academic momentum they gained over the school year. This "summer slide" is a risk for all children, especially those with autism.

"There are 10 weeks of no school. Ten weeks is a very long time," says Sharon Cable, of Canton.

Her son, Alex, now 23, liked the structure of the school day and became very anxious when the routine changed in June. So, he participated in the Summer Social Skills Immersion program at the FOCUS Center for Autism in Canton. Experts say vacation is actually a great time for kids with autism to learn in a fun, different way.

"Summer is key," says Donna Swanson, executive director and co-founder of the FOCUS Center for Autism, open since 2000. "It's when — I think — we do our absolute best teaching. It's different than being in school. [The kids are] more open, they're more relaxed."

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