Summer Goal Setting with Autism

Written by Cassidy Hopson

For many children, summer vacation is an exciting time full of fun and relaxation. But, for children with autism, the summer months can be a challenging time. With the daily routine of school gone, children with ASD don’t have structure helping them continue to reach their goals.

Some parents may worry that their child will fall behind during this time and want to know how they can maintain their child’s progress. By setting goals for your child with ASD, you can help support their development in a healthy way. Here are some tips to set realistic and achievable goals for your child on the spectrum this summer. 

Involve them in process

When making goals, it’s important they reflect your child’s desires as well. Ask them what activities interest them and center their goals around that. By setting goals that play to their strengths, they are more likely to stick to them and be happy doing so.

Think Independence

Most educators and parents of children with ASD desire to have their child live a meaningful and happy life. To do this, striving for independence during their day is often the goal.  Summer time is an ideal time to promote small steps to independent learning, for children of all ages with ASD.  Activities such as cooking, household care, shopping and more can be an effective way to continue the learning process throughout the whole summer.

Make SMART goals

SMART goals is a concept that can help you create practical goals for your teenage child or young adult with ASD. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

  • Specific: The goal is clearly stated and doesn’t include vague words like “more” or “better.”
  • Measurable: The goal must be measurable in some capacity, so success is clear.
  • Achievable: The goal should be seen as achievable by your child.
  • Realistic: The goal should be something your child could realistically accomplish.
  • Time-bound: The goal should have a set time frame for it to be reached.

There are many different areas for you to set goals for your child. These can include communication, social skills and behavior-oriented goals. The National Association of Special Education Teachers and The Autism Community in Action provide examples of goals you or your care team can set. These goals can be helpful when working with your child’s rehabilitation and education team.

Local resources, such as UF CARD provides several services helping parents raise children with ASD. Check out their weekly calendar for forums, education, support group, and conference information to support you during these uncertain times.



Bergman, M. (2016, January 22). SMART Goals and the Autism Spectrum Population. Retrieved from

Govan, M. (2018, January 3). Making Resolutions and Setting Goals. Retrieved from