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:
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.
Photo credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture
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