words Al Woods
Autism is a rare condition by no means, though there is still a huge chunk of research that needs to be done before any conclusive results can be released on the disease’s cause and state and the best way to treat the condition. If you have a child with autism, getting through a full day can be filled with many challenges.
Preparing a child for school and especially one with autism, is a daunting task. You may experience unique challenges relating to routine, and you may be unsure about where to begin the process. Here are a few ways to prepare your child for starting school, especially one with autism.
Plan Adequately for Different Routines and Different Schedules
Children who have an autism disorder experience difficulty adjusting to changes made in their schedules. As the beginning of the school year approaches, experts from abaconnect.com/services/aba-therapy/ recommend it’s essential to start introducing school related routines such as eating and sleep patterns, transitions, and other habits related to a school schedule. Doing this will allow your child to get comfortable and adjust to the new changes before starting school. It’s important to note that doing this outside of your everyday routine may help your autistic child adapt to the sudden changes. Introducing a visual schedule by employing the use of visual aids can be helpful as well.
Organize a Meeting with the Teachers at Your Child’s School
Arranging a meet-up with your child’s support staff and teachers will give you a chance to ask any relevant questions that you may have. This will help you familiarize yourself with the staff involved in your child’s learning experience, development, and growth. This is the best time to express the needs and goals of your child. Doing this means that you will help familiarize the support staff and teachers with the skill set and communication method that work well with your child so that they are in a better place to offer any assistance and help. Remember, teachers will spend considerable time with your child, so it’s best if you bring them on board with everything.
Learn to Expose Your Child to Social Settings and Events
Autistic children have a hard time struggling to adjust to social settings and, at the same time, have a hard time developing social skills. Children with autism have little to no interest in social interactions, even with other kids their age. Exposing your child to different social surroundings and settings before they begin their schooling journey will help them get used to interacting with peers while at school. The best way of doing this without being a little too obvious is by taking them to the local park or setting up playdates with other kids in your area. Doing this means that your child will be accustomed to friendly relations and develop a social character in the long run. Before they begin school, ensure that you use visual aids like pictures to show them how the school looks.
Arrange the Necessary Travel Arrangements
Will your child be taking the bus to school? If so, then you should arrange to meet the bus driver first. In the days leading up to the first day of school, ensure that you walk with your child to the bus stop and show them where they will be picked and dropped off. Ensure you bring your child up to speed with the rules for riding a bus.
You may be wondering; how should I do that? Again, use visuals, as we mentioned earlier, to help them understand pickup and drop-off times. At this point, you can also use a social story to help explain this in more detail and make sure to do this often before he/she enrolls for their first year in school.
Introduce Your Child to New Clothing or any School Related Essentials
Children with an autism disorder have sensory-related issues when there is a slight change in certain clothes or a difference in their commonly used colors. To help your child prepare for school, you should begin to expose your child to new materials such as a backpack, lunchbox, or anything they have to carry. By the time your child starts school, they’ll already be accustomed to what they need in advance.
You must prepare yourself, as well as your child, for the process of starting school. Take time to gather your thoughts so that you are prepared to help your child during the process. Talk to other parents who are also getting their children ready for their first schooling journey so that you won’t feel alone.