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Transitioning Home During Winter Break

By Jennifer Kilby
Assistant Program Director, CIP Long Beach

cip-life-skills-iconWinter break may be one of the most stressful times of the year for families dealing with the lifelong challenges of autism. However, it does not always have to be that way. With planning, realistic expectations and a positive attitude, the parents of CIP Long Beach students can reduce the stress from the break and create a better experience for the entire family. The CIP Long Beach team developed a packet for students and parents to adjust to this transition back home. Along with the transition home packet, here are our top three tips for not only surviving winter break with your student, but actually enjoy this time together.

Tip # 1: Follow the Transitioning Home Guidelines

The CIP Long Beach team worked with each student to identify specific recommendations for them over the winter break. For example, students developed a wellness plan, a budget to follow, social activities to attend in the community and chores to complete around the house. These recommendations are specific to your students needs to ensure they do not regress to old habits.

Tip # 2: Develop a Weekly Schedule Together

A schedule can be very helpful during the winter break since students are accustomed to following a routine at CIP Long Beach. We recommend developing a schedule together with the transition home guidelines to identify expectations and plan for fun events together. This will benefit your student since they can get overwhelmed with excitement of the holidays or stressed from the schedule changes. After you agree to the weekly schedule, post the schedule in their room as a visual reminder of their plan and/or add reminders to their cell phones. This will help students maintain their executive functioning skills over winter break.

Tip # 3: Empower Independent Decision-making

Lastly, we recommend to encourage your student to problem solve and make choices independently. Self-advocacy will empower your student and help them strengthen their confidence. Moreover, students will start to learn how to communicate with parents as adults. This will help students take the necessary steps towards leading fulfilling and productive lives independently.

Winter break and the holidays does not have to be a stressful time of year. The CIP Long Beach team hope these strategies listed above and the transition guidelines will help your entire family enjoy this fun time of year.

Here are a couple of links with helpful strategies and resources:

About the Author

JenniferKJennifer Kilby graduated from California State University, Long Beach in 2012 with a Masters Degree in Political Science. She is an avid learner and continued her education with a Certificate in Education. Jennifer has seven years experience assisting students with special needs. Her background in education includes teaching students how to access resources in a post-secondary environment.


This has been a special needs program update from Asperger’s & LD College Programs. You may also click here to read the original article on the main program website.