Summer can be a challenging time when your teen or young adult just hangs out at home, sleeping late, watching youtube, and playing video games. OR it can be a period of growth and challenge. I am going to highlight a program I am involved with that provides a wonderful mix of learning and fun for teens with ASD.
The residential college experience at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas is called “Summer on the Hill”. Knowing that cost or location may be a problem for many of you, I will also include some “Do it Yourself” ideas for activities this summer.
Hello, Asperger101 readers! I wanted to share a unique opportunity for young adults with ASD:
2017 Summer on the Hill:
Residential College Experience at Trinity University, San Antonio, TX
June 11-15, 2017
For the sixth year, Trinity University is collaborating with Spectrum Community to host a four night, five day experience for young adults with ASD ages 18-26. This program is most beneficial for independent young people who may plan to attend college or additional vocational training, but are not quite ready to leave home for a full school year.
Participants will have a variety of fun learning and social experiences mentored by Trinity University students and provided by Autism Specialists and University Professors. Each will have a private room with a bathroom shared between two individuals in one of Trinity’s great dorms. Most meals will be eaten on campus, with additional trips to local landmarks.
Look forward to:
- Meeting like-minded people
- Workshops on social skills, interviewing and job preparation
- Cooking and computer sessions
- Outdoor activities
- Off-campus excursions
- Movies and socials
- Swimming and more!
This program will be limited to 20 young people. An application and personal interview will be required for each participant. For those living outside of the San Antonio area, a Skype session will be sufficient. Applications are due by May 1, 2017.
To request an application or ask questions, please contact: Julie Little firstname.lastname@example.org
This will be my third year to collaborate on providing this fantastic experience. Each year there are returning students plus a new group to get to know. I see people making friends, try things they have never dared to do, and find a new sense of independence and belonging. Please consider spreading the word about this wonderful opportunity.
But if this program isn’t something you feel is right for your young adult, consider these ideas for the summer:
- Plan a short trip together. Make this adventure a total collaboration. Brainstorm where to go, where to stay, research possible activities, draw up a budget, then, away you go!
- Invite someone to spend a weekend with you. This could be a school friend, a cousin, or the same age son/daughter of an acquaintance. The point is to provide an experience that is just a bit outside your child’s comfort zone. Be sure to have a good plan for what will happen that you have developed WITH your child. Let them take the lead in deciding things to do. Then make a living record of the weekend by taking pictures or videos that can be shared with others and replayed for years.
- Find a volunteer opportunity with younger kids, like a YMCA day camp. Make sure your child receives adequate training, and very clear directions and responsibilities. See if a more experienced volunteer will mentor your child for increased confidence.
- Plan a community project. Find something that needs doing in your community, enlist other volunteers and be sure your child has a valued role. Involve your child in all the research, planning, and implementation.
- Have expectations for the summer. Together, develop a structure for your child so that many days have activities and experiences that are beneficial and provide a bit of a stretch.
What happens if there are problems with summer plans?
My experience says that if a young person has a really hard time, maybe they weren’t quite ready, no matter what the plan. So, you’ve learned more clearly what will be too much of a challenge. Then, try again.
I know there have been participants in Summer on the Hill that have not made it through the whole program, sometimes more than once. But they keep trying, and in every case where they and their parents have stayed with it, maturity and familiarity have led to success. Please understand, this doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it can be a valuable learning experience.
SUMMER: a time ripe with opportunities and new experiences. Don’t forget the sunscreen and a bottle of water!
by Dema Stout
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