Back To School
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.