Now that the school year is well underway, some kids may struggle with managing their stress about school. It is common for children on the autism spectrum to have some anxiety surrounding school. Whether it is separation anxiety or wearing a mask, going to school can be very stressful for some children. It is important you develop some techniques to help your child cope with their stress. Here are a few strategies to help manage school anxiety.
Allow Your Child to Express their Emotions
Anxiety and stress are normal emotions for anyone to feel, that includes children. It is essential to allow your child to express their feelings fully. Encourage your child to name their fears and emotions, and then validate that it is okay to feel that way. Your child may express their feelings in different ways, such as writing, drawing, or dancing. Regardless, letting your child express their emotions will help them move through the stress more easily.
Children with autism thrive under regular routines. Predictable and safe patterns make a world of difference. Establishing these early on is essential. When your child has a routine, it removes a level of uncertainty from their day. Generally, the more predictable, the better. This can include bedtimes, waking times, and homework.
Connect With Their Teachers
Don’t be afraid to meet your child’s teachers this year. If possible, visit the classroom the week before school starts. Teachers usually take some time to prepare for the school year, and it will give you a chance to discuss seating, potential distractions, and your child’s strengths and needs. It will be even more beneficial for your child to have their teachers on their side to help ease any anxiety they may have.
Be Aware of Your Feelings
Make sure to be self-aware regarding your own emotions and anxiety. Your child can sometimes pick up on how you are feeling. It is vital to stay strong, calm, and collected for your child even when you have your own worries. Essentially, you, as the parent, can set the tone for how they will handle change.
Plan for the Unexpected
It is essential to be prepared for abrupt changes. Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict the future. If your child has to go back to virtual learning temporarily, plan how to handle it ahead of time. Think of ways you can adapt to at-home schooling. Being flexible and having a plan in place is vital for the year ahead.
The Connections Therapy Center
The Connections Therapy Center serves families of children and adolescents with disabilities and special needs. We are a team of experts in the fields of pediatric speech, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and behavioral sciences. As a team, we offer intensive hands-on therapy for children and adolescents, as well as informative and useful resources for families. If you are interested in learning more about what we can do to help your family, visit us online or give us a call at (301) 577-4333. Want to get more information on how to help your child thrive? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest.