Helping Children with Autism Deal with Winter Weather

The changing of the seasons and the advent of winter is not always welcome for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). There can be a number of challenges, and we have some suggestions that will help you.

Autistic children do best with routine in their lives, and winter weather changes that routine. The first and most obvious change is in the clothing they wear. Bulky winter wear is not necessarily pleasant for the child.

The autistic child may not like the feel or weight of bulky clothing. Fortunately, today there are lots of very lightweight and warm choices available that didn’t exist 20 years ago.

So, it’s wise to get the child used to the idea that he or she has to dress differently. Practice putting on coats and hats and gloves in the house before needing the child dressed in a hurry for an appointment.

If your child is in a program with us, we can help you with this by tailoring learning programs—in our learning environment or at home in yours—to include getting ready to go outside in the cold. Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) techniques can make getting dressed for winter weather a pleasant experience.

We’ve mentioned before that many autistic children have an issue with wandering off or what’s called “elopement.” You will want to be especially vigilant during the winter because what’s annoying in the summer can be life-threatening in the winter.

If you child isn’t crazy about the cold, consider planning some interesting outdoor activities collecting rocks or leaves or building a snowman or even making a toboggan track in your yard if there’s a slope to it.

There are also some winter sports that might appeal to your child. Team sports and very noisy sports aren’t always the best fit, but there are still independent sports to consider like snowboarding or skating.

For a very visual child, a winter birdfeeder close to a window can make a dreary day interesting. The child can learn the names of birds or count them or do all kinds of observational games. The point here is to try to make the best of foul weather. The good news is that spring is just around the corner.

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Applied Behavior Analysis helps to extinguish undesirable behaviors and reinforce desirable ones. ABA can improve your child’s toileting behaviors, eating behaviors, speech, and sleeping routines. ABA can be life changing for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. If you are trying to decide how to handle a child with ASD or what type of therapy is most appropriate for your child, please contact us today.

Let us help you. We offer Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and our services are outlined here. We encourage you to call us directly, toll-free, at (844) 263-1613 or email us at info@totalspectrumcare.com. We are based in Elmhurst, Illinois.