Summer vacation is officially over. It is time to get back to school time! A new school year starts and all these events are very likely to have an effect in your child with Autism. We are aware that this situation can get out of hand really fast, but we gathered a few tips for you to enjoy the new season and for your family members with Autism to have a smoother and better experience with it as well.
For those on the Autism spectrum, dealing with anxiety can be extremely difficult. Every child is unique and different and there isn’t a rule that can apply for every child but these tips will certainly help a lot.
1. Talk to your child
Frequently talking about what to expect in the upcoming year. It’s the simplest tip, and perhaps the most important one to help reduce your child’s anxiety.
2. Cross days off on your calendar.
Some children may have anxiety about when the school year begins. Simply crossing days off the calendar may help your child better understand when the school year starts.
3. Practicing a routine is important
Create a new morning routine and practice it prior to the start of the school year.
Start by waking up your child a little earlier each morning so that he or she gets used to the new wake-up time way before that big first day. Repeat these near the end of summer vacation so your child knows what to expect in the time before leaving for school and it doesn’t cause a big shock.
4. Take a tour of the school.
This can be arranged with the case manager of your child study team. You may not get to meet your child’s new teacher this early, but at least your child will become familiar with the building prior to attending.
5. Walk through emergency procedures
Many children on the spectrum have difficulty with loud noises and breaks in routine. If possible, when on your tour, have your case manager show your child where to go and what to do during any emergency scenario.
Create a daily school schedule for your child.
You may not know the exact routine, but even walking through one day may make your child feel more at ease.
Meet the teacher
If at all possible, have your child meet the teacher prior to the start of school. Remember to take his or her photo and add it to your social story.
Write a list or letter
A list or a letter outlining your child’s strengths, weaknesses, possible sensory issues, dietary restrictions, and favorite reinforcers. If possible, have your child help you create this document, as it will be invaluable input for school staff.
Make sure sensory items are available for him/her
If your child has sensory issues make sure he or she has a favorite sensory item available from the first day. For those children on the spectrum who struggle from sensory overload, certain objects can offer a great deal of comfort.