With summer coming to an end, back to school season is just around the corner. Transitioning back into the school setting can be difficult for all kids, especially those with autism. We are sharing this blog to provide helpful tips and hopefully assist with uncertainty and concerns of transitioning your child back to school.
To start the process of preparing your child to go back to school, using a calendar or visual schedule can help them practice their daily routines so they know what to expect each day. Even taking a drive with your child to their school and showing them around the building could help familiarize them with the area. It could also be helpful to take a printed photo of the school and incorporate it into a social story so your child can visualize their school. Along with that, reading social stories about going back to school can be a great way to explain a typical school day. You can click here to browse through a variety of social stories and download your favorites for free or learn to make your own social story by following this link. In the case where social stories are not favorable or accessible, talking your child through what to expect (i.e, events from the time they wake up until the time they arrive home from school) can set them up for success.
For those with children that sleep in late during the summer months, it’s best to start a more structured sleeping schedule. Maybe start off slow by winding down earlier than usual. Have them go to bed and wake up 30 minutes earlier than they normally would, then increase the time if you see that they are adjusting well.
For parents with a child with autism who is new to school, reaching out to the school district for further information on how to support the child is an ideal first step. Collaboration with the school will be a major key for your child’s success. Sharing your child’s diagnostic information and providing your own information about your child (i.e. their highly preferred items) will help the school with putting together an individualized education program (IEP) that will best support your child throughout the school year. If you plan to have your new student use school transportation, click here to check out our 7 tips to prepare your child for riding the school bus (where we also include a social story!).
A friendly reminder that your child’s clinician is always here to help. They can be great resources for preparing for the school year, writing social stories, and answering any other uncertainties you may have. We hope that these tips will help you and your child transition back into the school year with ease and excitement. Changing up a routine is not always easy, but it’s doable with support and patience!