Autism: Changing Seasons

Zowie Kaye's avatar

by Zowie Kaye

I remember when I was about 6 and was sent to bed as it was 8 o’clock and past my bedtime. 

My bed was under the window and I remember feeling a great sense of injustice seeing the other older kids still playing out in the day time.

I realise now on reflection that it was clearly a summer’s night, and quite rightly at 6 years old I would have been ready for bed.

This is a great parenting gripe we have with Mother Nature each summer and winter with the changing of the clocks.

In the winter we are more pleased as this works to our advantage – “come on now Cameron its dark its night-time – bed!” – In the summer the reply to the same comment which I’m sure is echoed in houses up and down the country……… “But it’s still day time – it’s still light!”

The issue I now find with my autistic son as he’s that bit older is the fact that he is inquisitive as to why the nights are so long.

He also has statutory night blindness which means that his vision is depreciated in the dark.

That was last year and we bought him a watch and clock and focused on learning to tell the time so he was more aware throughout the day.

Another problem around the changes in seasons are clothing, my son is always very naturally warm and doesn’t like to wear a lot of clothes, so in winter when I want him to be warm in jumpers/hats/gloves – I have to be mindful to layer him up rather than a big chunky knit option. 

You can introduce the clothing change slowly so from September time as it cools introduce long sleeve tops that are the same material as t-shirts.

I remember once going into spring putting shorts on my son and he had the mother of all meltdowns trying to pull his shorts down whilst claiming “pants are broken mummy”!! -

I just pulled his socks up to his knees and then as he played they fell down naturally without him realising. RESULT!

The worst one though even for me is not having guaranteed white Christmases, the TV always portrays to children the magic of a white Christmas with snow and very wonderland type joy so imagine your child’s confusion opening the blinds Christmas morning and its actually just grey and dreary.

I have found that using social stories, day to day scenarios and laminated visual aids have helped with the changes of the seasons. 

Cameron now knows that in spring we get lots of showers as all the new flowers need that water along with the sun to grow.

There is a plethora of support online, you can get books/packs and even images that you can print off and laminate yourself. 

The best thing I bought was a laminating set and my son loves preparing new charts.

It’s just another part of our SEN journey that we adapt too, there isn’t a right or wrong answer and just because something works for me does not mean it will work for you – we can but try.

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