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Memorial Day Activities for Children With Autism

For many students, Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer vacation. The weather is warm, flowers are blooming, and children can play free from the stress related to school.

Just like neurotypical children, children with autism love the fun and excitement surrounding national holidays. We’ve put together a few ideas for activities that you and your child can enjoy together while honoring the men and women who have fought for our country. 

Kids with sensory difficulties will love these activities, too – they’re family-friendly and bound to make you and your child smile!

 

1. Help Your Child Make a Patriotic Sensory Craft

This patriotic sensory bottle craft was created by Little Bins for Little Hands, a website devoted to sensory play through STEM, art, slime, LEGO, and other crafts and activities.

memorial day craft for children with autism

Children with autism are strongly in tune with their senses and often enjoy having something to hold and look at for stimulation. 

Your child will love shaking the bottle and watching the glitter swirl around in colorful twists. If they hold the bottle close to their ear, they may even be able to hear the glitter and water stirring around. 

Here’s how to make a patriotic sensory bottle:

  1. Gather the supplies: One clear water bottle (the author recommends VOSS); water; blue glitter glue; red and silver glitter; patriotic craft tape.
  2. memorial day craft activity for children with autismSqueeze blue glitter glue into the bottle of water (if a used bottle, refill with tap water). Your child can add as much glitter glue as they’d like, but preferably no more than ¼ the size of the water bottle.
  3. Let your child add in the red and silver glitter. Children often go heavy-handed on this step, so it’s a good idea to watch closely to make sure they don’t empty the bottle.
  4. Put the cap back on the bottle and add a ring of decorative tape (stars and stripes or simple red, white, or blue) on the cap.
  5. Let your child shake the bottle vigorously to mix everything up.

 

That’s it! Patriotic sensory bottles are easy and fun to make, and your child can take their bottle with them wherever they go. If the bottle lasts until the 4th of July, even better!

 

2. Reflect on the Purpose of the Holiday With a Picture/Word Activity

It’s important for children to understand why they’re able to enjoy a day off of school at the end of May. This Memorial Day picture/word vocabulary file folder activity from Teachers Pay Teachers is a great way to teach your child reverence and respect for those who have protected them while teaching them related vocabulary words.

This digital resource is available for $1.75 on Teachers Pay Teachers, but you can make a physical replica if you so wish.memorial day learning activities for children with autism

The activity features two photographs of real-life military figures surrounded by images with labels such as “patriotic,” “honesty,” “loyalty,” and “courage.” Your child will pin a “badge” with the matching definition onto the correct image, helping them learn vocabulary terms and understanding the values shared by the members of our country’s military.

 

3. Teach Your Kids How to Fly the Flag

This is a great activity for children to participate in, especially if they have sensory preferences. They can touch and feel the flag and will enjoy folding it at the end of the day.

The American flag is an important symbol of our country, and children will take part in the significance and tradition of raising the stars and stripes.

memorial day flag activity for children with autismYou can explain to your children that you’ll fly the flag at half-mast until noon since the holiday is about honoring fallen service members. At noon, you can return outside to raise the flag to full mast, where it should remain until the end of the day.

You can take time to practice the Pledge of Allegiance with your children and to salute the flag during the National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. local time. Afterward, you can come up with ideas for how you and your children can honor service members going forward, not just on Memorial Day.

 

4. Spend Time Outside!

The end of May is a beautiful time, and if there’s pleasant weather, it’s a good idea to spend time outdoors with your family. Many children with autism prefer activities with lots of sensory stimulation (sight, sound, and touch), so a few great options are to build an obstacle course, visit the playground, go on a treasure hunt, have a picnic in the park, or break out the bikes and go for a ride.

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2. What are your goals for your child?

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4. What types of behavior is your child demonstrating?





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Readiness

Your answers indicate that your child may be best treated in the Readiness program. This individualized, evidence-based program teaches young children skills they need to accelerate their learning and gain independence. Using imitation and naturalistic learning techniques, your child will develop useful skills in the areas of speech and language, cognition, and self-awareness. A program for children ages 0-3. *This is a suggestion based on the answers you submitted. Please contact Therapeutic Pathways at (209) 422-3280 to discuss which program would best suit your child.

Foundations

Your answers indicate that your child may be best treated in the Foundations program. This program gives preschool and school-age children the structure to achieve important social, emotional, and intellectual milestones, helping them test within their peers’ range. With 25+ hours of applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy per week, your child will develop social skills and better self-awareness for school and home. A program for children ages 4-7. *This is a suggestion based on the answers you submitted. Please contact Therapeutic Pathways at (209) 422-3280 to discuss which program would best suit your child.

Breakthroughs

Your answers indicate that your child may be best treated in the Breakthroughs program. Specifically designed for children who have limited hours due to school schedules, this program removes life barriers by developing communication, social, and self-help skills. We teach your child to engage in appropriate behaviors, helping them interact with peers and develop relationships. A program for children ages 8-11.

Interactions

Your answers indicate that your child may be best treated in the Interactions program. Through guided social skills groups twice a week, this program helps improve social functioning in children ages 5 to 16. Parent or caregiver participation is crucial to this program; our certified staff provides training for successful participation.

Independence

Your answers indicate that your child may be best suited for the Independence program. Geared toward older children, this program includes more in-depth skills that will help your child function independently. Taught skills include functional communication, self-management, and financial literacy. A program for individuals ages 12-25. *This is a suggestion based on the answers you submitted. Please contact Therapeutic Pathways at (209) 422-3280 to discuss which program would best suit your child.

Your Child My Be Suited to Multiple Programs

Independence

Your answers indicate that your child may be best suited for the Independence program. Geared toward older children, this program includes more in-depth skills that will help your child function independently. Taught skills include functional communication, self-management, and financial literacy. A program for individuals ages 12-25. *This is a suggestion based on the answers you submitted. Please contact Therapeutic Pathways at (209) 422-3280 to discuss which program would best suit your child.

Strategies

Your answers indicate that your child may be best suited for the Strategies program. The most age-encompassing of our programs, the goal of Strategies is to reduce challenging behaviors and issues with aggression. These behaviors interfere with independence and community participation, so we work to mitigate those challenges and encourage safe, appropriate behavior for individuals of any age. *This is a suggestion based on the answers you submitted. Please contact Therapeutic Pathways at (209) 422-3280 to discuss which program would best suit your child.

Strategies

Your answers indicate that your child may be best suited for the Strategies program. The most age-encompassing of our programs, the goal of Strategies is to reduce challenging behaviors and issues with aggression. These behaviors interfere with independence and community participation, so we work to mitigate those challenges and encourage safe, appropriate behavior for individuals of any age. *This is a suggestion based on the answers you submitted. Please contact Therapeutic Pathways at (209) 422-3280 to discuss which program would best suit your child.

Breakthroughs and/or Interactions

Your answers indicate that your child may be best suited to the Breakthroughs or Interactions programs. These programs treat similar symptoms, so Therapeutic Pathways will need to meet with you and your child before we can place them within the appropriate program.

Specifically designed for children who have limited hours due to school schedules, Breakthroughs removes life barriers by developing communication, social, and self-help skills. We teach your child to engage in appropriate behaviors, helping them interact with peers and develop relationships.

Through guided social skills groups twice a week, Interactions helps improve social functioning in children. Parent or caregiver participation is crucial to this program; our certified staff provides training for successful participation.

*This is a suggestion based on the answers you submitted. Please contact Therapeutic Pathways at (209) 422-3280 to discuss which program would best suit your child.

Your Child My Be Suited to Multiple Programs

Breakthroughs and/or Interactions

Your answers indicate that your child may be best suited to the Breakthroughs or Interactions programs. These programs treat similar symptoms, so Therapeutic Pathways will need to meet with you and your child before we can place them within the appropriate program.

Specifically designed for children who have limited hours due to school schedules, Breakthroughs removes life barriers by developing communication, social, and self-help skills. We teach your child to engage in appropriate behaviors, helping them interact with peers and develop relationships.

Through guided social skills groups twice a week, Interactions helps improve social functioning in children. Parent or caregiver participation is crucial to this program; our certified staff provides training for successful participation.

*This is a suggestion based on the answers you submitted. Please contact Therapeutic Pathways at (209) 422-3280 to discuss which program would best suit your child.

Strategies

Your answers indicate that your child may be best suited for the Strategies program. The most age-encompassing of our programs, the goal of Strategies is to reduce challenging behaviors and issues with aggression. These behaviors interfere with independence and community participation, so we work to mitigate those challenges and encourage safe, appropriate behavior for individuals of any age. *This is a suggestion based on the answers you submitted. Please contact Therapeutic Pathways at (209) 422-3280 to discuss which program would best suit your child.