Tips to Prepare Your Child for School
Autism is not a new diagnosis, however, there is still much to learn about this disorder. If your child has autism, you may find some days difficult to get through. The beginning of a school year and the upcoming first day of school can be one of those challenges.
A school environment can be overwhelming and may cause some panic in your child. These are some tips to help you prepare your autistic child for school.
1. Create and Introduce Schedules and Routines
A child with autism may have difficulty adjusting to changes in their routine. As the school year draws near, you should begin to slowly introduce school-related routines. These new routines may include a change in bedtimes, when you eat meals, such as breakfast, and any other small changes that will be in place during the school year.
Creating these new routines and schedules early and slowly will make the adjustment much smoother when the first day of school arrives. When you begin doing things outside of the normal routine, you can help your child adjust to changes before they come suddenly. Visual aids and social stories are also good tools to use to help your child understand more clearly what changes to expect.
2. Schedule Meetings at School With Teachers and Support Staff
Schedule a meeting with your child's teacher and the support staff who will be assigned to work with your child during the school year. This meeting will allow you to ask questions and learn more about those who will have such a huge role in your child's learning experience.
During the meeting, you may want to express any goals or needs your child may have. This meeting is also a great opportunity to help familiarize your child's teacher and the support staff with your child's skill set and the best way for them to communicate with your child so they provide the best assistance possible.
3. Begin Exposure to Different Social Settings
Social skills can be challenging for children with autism. Your child may display little interest in interacting socially and beginning to expose your child to different social settings before school starts will prepare them to be around their peers at the staff at school.
Exposing your child to different social settings can include setting up play dates with other kids they will be with at school, or going to a local park with playground equipment like that at their school. You can also take your child to the school they will attend or show them pictures of the inside so they can become familiar with the environment they will be entering.
4. Introduce Your Child to New Backpack, Clothing, or Other School-Related Materials
Some children with autism may have sensory issues when it comes to wearing certain clothing items, colors, etc. To prepare your child for school, you can begin exposing them to new clothing items they may have to wear to school. These new items can also include their backpack, a new lunch box, and any items they have not been using over the break.
5. Make Sure You are Prepared
One of the most important tips for getting your child with autism ready for school is to make sure you are prepared. Take time to gather your feelings and thoughts so you are ready to help your child process their new schedule and routine. Talk to other parents who are getting their children ready to learn if they have techniques that would help you. Children can sense when their parents are stressed, so the less stress you feel the better for both of you.
Where to Learn More About Helping Your Autistic Child Prepare for School
ABA Pathways creates personalized treatment plans to meet your child's needs. Our programs have been created on the principles of behaviors and learning. Using data collection procedures we are able to find the treatment plan that will work best for your child. Contact our office and talk to one of our specialists if you have questions or want to discuss a treatment plan to meet your child's needs. We can also answer questions if you are concerned with handling the upcoming school year.