For the past year and a half, children everywhere have had to adapt to virtual school. Learning in an individualized setting without access to teachers or other classmates has been challenging. Many schools have begun to transition back to in-person school, so it is important to prepare your child. This transition can be particularly difficult for children with autism. Helping your child prepare for new routines and changes back to school may bring can help lessen their anxiety. Here are some tips to help your child transition back to school.
Practice Wearing a Mask
Your child’s school may likely have a mask mandate in place for all students. Many children are not used to wearing a mask for hours, and it may be unfamiliar and uncomfortable. Have your child wear one at home for short periods and gradually increase it to get them used to keeping the mask on for a significant time. Also, try to communicate with your child the importance of keeping their mask on so they know it is there to keep them safe.
Involve Your Therapists
Your child’s therapist is there to help transition back to school, especially after the pandemic. With guidance from your ABA therapist, you can begin to prepare your child by implementing and reviewing skills they have learned during therapy. You can also take this time to prepare a list of things you would like your child’s teachers to know. A brief profile about your child is a great tool to send them to school with on their first day, especially if they have a new teacher.
Establish a New School Routine
Children with autism benefit greatly from regular routines. Prepare your child for school by implementing a new routine before the school year begins. Setting a schedule and daily expectations is key to helping children feel safe and comfortable at school. When students feel comfortable in school, they are more able to re-engage and connect, allowing them to be ready to learn. This will also help teachers be more aware of their strengths and interests.
Countdown the Days
Having a countdown to the first day of school is a helpful visual tool to prepare your child. You can be as creative as you want with this. You can have your child mark off the days on a calendar or add a sticker to the board for each day. Make this a part of your daily routine in addition to discussing school routines and expectations as often as possible during your countdown.
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.