Transitioning back to school after summer recess is a challenge for parents and kids alike. For parents with children affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder, the transition can be even more daunting.
Fortunately, there are many strategies you can use to help prepare everyone for the new routine:
- Speak with your child frequently about school in the fall.
- Use a calendar to help visualization of the approach of school time.
- Routine is comforting. Start the school day routine early, with earlier bed and wake-up times and earlier breakfasts and eating lunch on the school calendar.
- Timing matters on school days, so make it a game to see if you both can get out the door in a certain amount of time five days in a row and celebrate the milestone in some special way when the goal is achieved.
- Request a school tour to give your child time to experience the new environment before it’s whirling with noise and people. With permission, take pictures of the classroom, lunchroom and playground to create a picture book for further visualization.
- Request a meeting with your child’s teacher, principal, and bus driver before the school year starts. Knowing who your child will be spending their time with will give confidence to both parents and child.
- If sensory issues are present, make sure at least one favorite object will remain available to your child at all times.
- Make sure that all the adults in your child’s classroom are familiar with any augmentative device your child uses to assist with their communication. If possible, volunteer in the classroom – it’s a great way to increase everyone’s comfort.
Children affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder teach us so much about the importance of preparation. Congratulations for doing all you can…Have a terrific school year!