With the closing of summer comes the beginning of our back-to-school bustle. Many parents look at this time as an exciting and somewhat overwhelming transition of routines. For parents of children with autism, preparing your child to go back to school and transitioning to a new routine can be challenging. We have some back-to-school tips for you to consider as the school year is in full swing.
Visit the School Ahead of Time
Before you send your child off to his/her school, scheduling a tour can be a wonderful way to introduce your child to the building and future spaces ahead of time. This gives your child an opportunity to prepare and become more acquainted with the changes that are to come. We suggest even taking pictures of the school, his/her future classroom, and even the teachers. When you get home, you can print out these pictures and create a board with these visuals to help your child see and prepare for the upcoming school year.
Create a Visual Schedule
We’ve previously mentioned how helpful visual schedules can be for children with autism, and with any changes in routine, these can be a great way to help him/her move through the changes with more clarity. Try creating a visual schedule that outlines what a typical school day will look like. From brushing teeth to walking into the classroom, these visual steps can help your child anticipate the future.
Try to Find a Safe Space
When your child goes to school, the need for him/her to have a space that feels “safe” can make a huge difference in their experiences at school. Reach out to your child’s teacher to talk about and find a space that your child can go to if he/she is feeling overwhelmed or stressed. Having this type of space can help your child regain a sense of control if there is a moment of anxiety or stress.
Consider Sleeping Patterns
Catching enough z’s can a big difference in your child’s capacity to learn, focus, and develop at school. A sleeping schedule can help your child improve in the classroom and experience less emotional turmoil. We recommend using positive reinforcement to encourage healthy sleeping patterns, like stickers when they go to bed on time and wake up.
Schedule a Play Date
Developing new friendships and/or more comfortable social interactions can make a big difference in your child’s experience at school. If you know some of the parents at your child’s school, you can try to schedule a play date, where your child can meet with potential classmates ahead of time. If you are new to the school, try speaking with your child’s teacher to connect with other parents and future classmates.
As the parent of a child with autism, the beginning of the school year can mean new and exciting challenges for you and your child. We understand the challenges and encourage you to be an advocate for your child and make this change in routine an exciting one.
At Hidden Treasures ABA Therapy Services, our team of specialists is here for you. Whether you are seeking information about advocating for your loved one, or you are looking for support and therapy services for your child with ASD, you can contact our team TODAY.