Returning to school can be a stressful time for families, especially if you have a child with a developmental delay such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Children with Autism often thrive with a consistent routine, and planning and including your child’s individual needs can help ease the transition back to school. Let’s look at back-to-school tips and tricks that can help us understand what our kids are going through with returning to the classroom, and how we can help.
One of the best things you can do is to work on reducing anxiety around the changes in routine that are coming up. This may include identifying efficient coping strategies for them, learning how to use a visual schedule to tolerate changes, and increasing communication with new people, especially to request coping or sensory items or activities. One tip when it comes to developing a new routine is to teach your child how to use a visual schedule to help prepare them for going back to school and the steps they will need to take for their everyday routine. When looking forward to the new school year ahead, it is important to set your child up for success and to help them feel prepared for the changes around the corner. For more tips on creating a visual schedule, you can check out our previous blog here.
Another tip when starting school is to make sure that you, your family, and your child have identified coping strategies that are efficient for them as an individual. An efficient coping mechanism may look different for each child. For example, one child may calm down by taking deep breaths, another may utilize music to cope with their feelings. Once you find strategies that help, remember to relay them to staff that may be working with your child to help use them when they need them.
When it comes to establishing a new routine, don’t forget to include your child’s sensory needs. Practice communication with your child so that they are able to request sensory or motor needs while at school. After a long day at school, try creating a safe space in your home that can help them decompress and become something they look forward to in their routines. This might be a bean bag chair and a cozy space to read books, this might be a swing or trampoline, or a weighted blanket and fidget toys. This is going to completely depend on your child and their specific needs and interests. If you have any questions, please contact your child’s therapists for more insight on how to accommodate those specific needs or interests.
It is always a good idea to share your strategies with your child’s teachers and any supporting staff as well as developing an individualized education program (IEP) or 504 plan with the school. Encourage your child to have communication with their teachers, this is a part of their routine that you can practice with them at home. If your child struggles with communicating or they use a communication device, make sure you practice working with them to help them understand and communicate how they are feeling. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with preparing for the school year ahead, know that you are not alone. For more information on Autism or other developmental delays, diagnostics, or how we support children and their families with transitioning to school please explore our website for more information.
Little Spurs Autism Centers offers collaborative and compassionate ABA Therapy to children 0-21 years old. Offering both center-based and home-based care, LSAC is excited to empower families by providing them with the support they need. For more information, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org