The Apple of Your Family’s Eye: Family Ties


Family support is always beneficial.

Here are some tips on how to prepare the family of a child on the Autism Spectrum for the new school year:

Communicate Expectations

Hold a family meeting at least a week before school starts and discuss roles, expectations, and important time changes (e.g., wake-up time on a school day).

Use a Checklist Driven Process

Create checklists to ensure that important routines are completed (e.g., lunches are made, snacks are packed, back packs are organized, lunch money is available, spare clothing is prepared).

Use Transitional Signals and Ease your Child through a Routine

Plan to alert your child about transitions (e.g., give your child an advanced warning that they will have to get out of bed), use age-appropriate and playful songs to support routines, and use signaling devices (e.g., a “Time Timer”, a sand dial, a digital watch, an Amco Color Alert Timer) to notify your child about time. Avoid abrupt and sudden shifts during the flow of a transition.

Optimize Behavioral Regulation

Plan to engage your child in soothing routines to optimize their behavioral regulation before entering the school. Plan to have a gentle “good-bye” ritual and know that what happens at home, or in the car or bus on the way to school, will certainly set the tone for the day.

Published on: August 28, 2014
About the Author
Photo of Michael Cameron PhD
Dr. Michael J. Cameron is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (Charter Certificant 1-00-0010) and is The Chief Clinical Officer for Pacific Child and Family Associates (PCFA). He is experienced in the area of behavioral medicine, behavioral health assessment, and intervention for diverse populations.
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