Summer is coming to a close, and soon it will be time to return to school. From shopping for school supplies to catching the bus, the transition from summer into school can be an exciting time of new experiences. However, for students with autism, it can also feel intimidating and overwhelming, creating feelings of anxiety. As the new school year brings in unfamiliar faces, places, and situations, there is much you can do to prepare for the upcoming changes and better equip your child to have a successful year. Here are some tips to help your kiddo transition to back to school.
Ease into a New Routine
Staying up later, sleeping longer, or enjoying a late breakfast before playing outside are hallmarks of summer vacation. But after all that relaxing, returning to a strict school routine can be challenging. To help your child ease into a school routine, you can do a few things now to make the transition smoother, including:
- Reset your child’s bedtime and wake-up routines at least one week before the start of school. Waiting until the first day may make things harder, so be sure to provide the best foundation by preparing early.
- Go through all the steps of your back-to-school routine, such as: setting the alarm, teeth brushing, and other grooming routines.
- Help your child pack a backpack with needed supplies, make lunch, organize clothing, and learn to check that homework is in the bag.
Visit the School
Before the first day, ask if you can have a walk-through of the school and meet with staff. Telling your child about what they may encounter at the start of school gives them a general picture, but you never truly know what they’ll experience. So, in the weeks before the first day, reach out to the school or district and request a tour of the building and meet some of the staff they will be interacting with regularly.
Connect with Teachers and Staff
It is a good idea to meet with your child’s teacher before school starts to form a connection and address any concerns. You can give the teacher tools and advice for effectively working with your child. Don’t wait for conferences, IEP meetings, or emergency meetings to meet the staff who interact daily with your child. This includes the principal, cafeteria worker, librarian, and anyone else. Try to connect with these staff members on an authentic level. Educate them on your child’s strengths and needs, and encourage them to contact you if your child is struggling.
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 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.