Skip to main content
Click to toggle navigation menu.

Safety and Sleep Tips for Summer Fun

We all look forward to the summer months since there are so many fun activities and family vacations to enjoy. Here are our tips for a successful, fun summer!

Swim Safety:
Swimming is a fun activity that most families engage in during the summer months. However, it is critical for children with autism to learn how to swim and engage in the water safely, as drowning is the number one cause of death in autism, and Florida leads the way in child drownings resulting in death. To ensure water safety is part of your child’s summer, enroll your child in swimming lessons, use caution when using flotation devices, keep all doors locked, including pool gates, and never leave your child unattended when near water.

Additional information and resources on water safety and drowning prevention can be found on the Autism Society of Florida website.

Access a financial voucher for swimming lessons through The Drowning Prevention Coalition of Palm Beach County.

Recreation Programs and Services:
Research proves that participation in recreational programs has shown extensive benefits for children with autism. It can reduce behavioral and emotional disorders, aid in developing social skills and forming relationships, enhance physical and mental health, and support the formation of children’s interests. Every week, The Els Center of Excellence offers seven recreational programs, including golf, kickball, and tennis, on campus to more than 100 individuals with autism. All fall rec schedule is being finalized, so check our website for updates.

To expand the recreation activities available at The Els Center of Excellence® campus and to provide individuals with autism with a full range of recreation choices, Els for Autism has launched a Capital Campaign to support funding a Gymnasium, Aquatic Center, Splash Pad, or other offerings at the Recreation Complex. The Aquatic Center will be a multipurpose facility to serve the needs of individuals with ASD, their families, and the community. In addition, the Ernie Els GameOn Autism® Aquatics program will be offered at the Aquatic Center to further ensure individuals with autism learn to swim and stay safe in the water. Support our Capital Campaign for the Recreation Complex – Els for Autism.

For more information on supporting positive behaviors and experiences in recreation activities, please watch Els for Autism E-TEAM Webinar: Supporting Positive Behavior in Recreation Settings presented by Hallie Mitchell – Canucks Autism Network.

Summer Tips for Sleep:

Summertime sleep routines are often challenging due to time out of school, work, and vacations. As sleep problems are very common, reportedly as high as 80 percent in children with ASD, it is crucial to establish good sleep hygiene and routines.  

Maintaining consistent bedtime routines and sleep hygiene help reduce daytime sleepiness, learning problems, and behavioral issues such as hyperactivity, inattentiveness, and aggression (Autism Speaks, 2023), allowing for an individual to be more engaged, emotionally regulated, and attentive throughout the day.

Using dark curtains or black-out blinds, blocking out external noise with sound machines, and removing distractions like electronic devices are all beneficial to maintaining a good sleep routine.  

For information on best practices in sleep routines, please check out our E-TEAM Webinar: Sleep Supports and Strategies for Children with Autism and Related Disabilities, presented by Marissa Eck.