Establishing a Routine Helps Make Summer Transitions Smoother

Sabrina L. Johnson avatar

by Sabrina L. Johnson |

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Summer, which officially begins on June 21, is still quite a few days away. Nevertheless, I’m already in summer mode as I begin my 12-year-old Angel Juliana’s transition from school.

For many, Memorial Day marks the kickoff of summer and the end of the school year. Like other parents, I start a summer routine to help maintain sanity and balance in the household. However, as the parent of an Angel, our routine looks a little different than others.

Our summer routine is task-tailored so that Juliana doesn’t experience any Angelman syndrome regression. Several years ago, I had to alter our summer schedule because Juliana had a tough time getting back on track after too much summer fun. This summer will be even more important as we make the big leap to middle school.

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Mixing work and play

According to this plan, our days will include a calendar review, workboxes, reading, and math. And, of course, there will be lots of water fun, too. Repetition is so important for how Juliana learns, so we will keep working on many of the skills she has been practicing at school. Our summer work is similar to Juliana’s homework throughout the year.

I know many people have gotten back to their pre-COVID-19 lives, but I am still on the fence about large crowd activities for Juliana. Although her favorite special needs camp is back to face-to-face sessions, I couldn’t comfortably pull the trigger on having her attend. They offer an online version, so I’ve decided to do that.

In the few days that Juliana has been out of school, I have noticed a difference in her reaction to our routine. It’s a good change that shows that she is maturing. The transition to summer break used to be very difficult for her. There was lots of crying and frustration as we got up and she didn’t head off to school. But now I think she understands that school has ended, and we simply shift gears to being home.

Angelman | Angelman Syndrome News | Juliana poses with her family on the last day of school.

It’s time for summer! Juliana, center, poses with her family on the last day of school. (Photo by Sabrina L. Johnson)

Cheers to change

A change in routine can trigger anxiety for Angels. I’m relieved that I haven’t seen those behaviors this year. I’m sure some of it is because Juliana is getting older and calmer in some areas. But I also believe it’s because we have a summer routine that Juliana knows. That means the transition is not really much of a change for her now.

I’m happy for the warmer weather, blooming plants, and carefree days that only summer can bring. But I’m even happier that my Angel has a routine that is so comfortable and familiar to her that it has eased the tension that used to come from one of our biggest transitions of the year.


Note: Angelman Syndrome News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Angelman Syndrome News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Angelman syndrome.

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