Many states have been back in school while some have not just yet. Autistic people often face difficulties with transitioning back to school because of either being home all summer or engaging in other structured activities over the summer. How can you help an autistic child, client, or student get back into their school routine?
Here are some ways to help transition an autistic child, student, or client back to school:
1. Communicate! It is important to let an autistic individual know ahead of time that they will be back in school real soon. When they are given the heads up, autistic people can prepare themselves for the school routine.
2. Provide visual supports! Autistic people need support through visual cues to get them back into their school routine. This can be done through token economy boards, a visual picture schedule of school and classroom routine, written list of behavior expectations and tasks, a school map, etc.
3. Teach behavior expectations! It is vital to teach autistic people appropriate behaviors for school through clear instructions. You can provide written instructions as well for those who are visual learners. A couple of approaches to teach autistic people appropriate behaviors for getting back into school routine is through modeling and shaping.
4. Increase choices for activities! Getting back into a routine can be stressful sometimes. By providing autistic people choices, it allows them to create their own routine. They learn to make decisions while helping them transition smoothly back to school. This not only helps them, but it helps you as a teacher, therapist, parent, etc.
5. Create a sensory space! After slowly getting back into school routine, create a sensory space for autistic people to recharge themselves. Fill up the sensory space with comfortable cushions, favorite toys or teddies, visual timers, fidget toys, a heavy/weighted blanket, or other sensory calming toys. Autistic people should have the time like everyone else to recharge after being out all day before getting back into routine at home.
These tips can help autistic people get back into their school routine after having a good summer. What do you think? How else would you get an autistic child, client, or student back into school? Share your thoughts in the comments section!