It’s hard to believe, but it’s time to start preparing for back to school. Here is some information to help with the transition from summer to school and some end of summer activities to prepare your child with autism for the upcoming school year
Transition back to your regular schedule – Since the end of the last school year, your child with autism has had a different schedule, different activities and different people around them. Their schedule may have not been as structured as it normally is during the school year, so now is the time to transition back to a less relaxed schedule in order to get them ready for school. It’s a good idea to start with creating a timeline for their day, redirecting them back to their normal sleeping, eating, bathing, and bedtime rituals to create the consistency they will need during the school year.
Use a Calendar for Visual Reminders – Many children on the spectrum benefit from visuals. It would be a good idea to get a large calendar and make off the days until school starts to show them how much time they have on vacation and the activities they have to look forward to until school starts. You can also plan out days to go back to school shopping, for clothes, supplies, etc. Make sure you discuss how many days are left until each event and have your child participate in planning by helping write shopping lists and asking their opinions on where they want to go.
Review School Schedules – Use the days leading up the start of a new school year to prepare your child for the classes they will be taking, the teachers they will have (if you know them). If there is an opportunity t tour a new school, take your child with you. If there is an opportunity to meet their teacher or teachers, plan a day for them to go meet them before the year beings. If your child with autism is transitioning from a single class setting to multiple classes, it is a great idea to take them on campus before school starts and walk with them to help them find their classes. Pre-planning like this will help ease some anxiety the first week back.
Get them Excited – Your child with autism either had a good previous school y ear, or not…if they had a good experience last year, take this time to talk to them about their memories, and about the exciting things they have to look forward to. If their experience wasn’t that great, take the time to discuss with them the steps they can take to make it better. Role play making new friends, draw pictures and write stories about the things they enjoyed and talk to them about how they can have more good experiences in the upcoming year.
Play with Friends from School – If your child with autism has not seem their classmates from the previous school year, take this time to plan play dates with school friends to help your child on the spectrum become re-acquainted with them before school starts.
Enjoy the Rest of the Break –Make the most of the last few days of summer. Plan activities your child will look forward to, do a last minute get away, plan a picnic in the park and most importantly, take advantage of extra family time.
The start of the school year is an exciting time but the transition back to school can be stressful for many children on the spectrum. Now you can make it a little less stressful just by planning their transition back to school in advance and allowing them to enjoy the rest of their break with friends and family.