Helping your child on the spectrum understand classroom rules and expectations is a priority at the beginning of the school year. Since your child with autism has to make the transition from his summer schedule to a new school year schedule, we found that it was important to help parents take the proper steps to posting, presenting and reinforcing their new schedule and new school rules.
1. Find out classroom rules and post them at home – To get your child with autism used to specific classroom rules, it is always a good idea to get a copy of the classroom rules and create a poster board, list or picture board that is posted in a location that is easy for your child on the spectrum to see. This you’re your child acquainted with the new rules and provides a visual a childcan refer to if there are questions about the rules.
2. Review Regularly – At the beginning of the year, it is important to review these rules with your child with autism daily. As time passes, your child will need less frequent verbal reminders, but they still may need reminders at the beginning of the week and after returning from a break.
3. Enforce Rules at Home– It is also important to discuss the importance of the classroom rules at home. Maybe even enforce some of the rules in your home. Start with the ones that your child on the spectrum has the most trouble following.
4. Address Other Rules – Classroom rules are not the only rules your child with autism should learn and live by. The home, cafeteria, playground, hallway, friend’s homes, relatives’ homes etc. all have different rules. Although broad rules such as respecting property and people may cover different areas, prepare your child on the spectrum for expectations across environments by addressing rules specific to each environment they visit.
Helping your child on the spectrum understand classroom rules and expectations is a priority at the beginning of the school year. How rules are developed, posted, and reviewed is important for a child with autism.
It’s the time of year when you start thinking about transitioning your child, who has been diagnosed with autism, from their summer schedule to their school schedules. Since routines provide structure that many children on the spectrum need, here are a few strategies and ideas for developing routines that will help children cope with schedule changes.
Expected and unexpected routine changes are part of life. When your child’s schedule is about to change, it is very helpful to know the proper techniques to use to help them transition easily. The best tools to help develop a routine or cope with schedule changes are visual aids. Many children, who have been diagnosed with autism, benefit from a picture or written schedule that indicates the sequence of activities they should expect each day. Such tools provide reminders to help children transition smoothly from one activity to another.
A consistent routine at home, and in the classroom is important to help children on the spectrum. Drastically varying the order or time certain activities happen can cause tremendous stress for children, who have been diagnosed with autism, because they crave and thrive on consistency. With expected changes, take the time to speak to your child on the spectrum about what to expect and when to expect it. Create a chart or mark off a calendar, when summer comes to an end and the school year is beginning. By doing this your child understands that the routine they have gotten used to will change in a given amount of time.
Help your child successfully transition to a new routine by keeping your home, and their belongings organized. When it is easy for your child on the spectrum to find what they need for their new or changing routine, they feel more at ease with the changes happening in their life. Allowing your child to bring a security item (toy, blanket, picture) with them the first few days of a new routine, until they get used to it, will also elevate stress and help them transition.