It's that time of the year again – back to school season
September 6, 2023
It's that time of the year again – back to school season! The transition back to school can pose challenges for all children, and it can be especially overwhelming for those on the autism spectrum due to the uncertainties it brings. To alleviate the anxiety associated with this transition, here are some valuable strategies that families can adopt to ensure a smooth return to school for children.
Obtain a copy of your child's daily schedule: Acquiring your child's daily school schedule empowers parents to comprehend their child's routine and engage in discussions about what to expect each day (McCafferty, 2023).
Establish a morning routine and practice it daily: Initiating the routine rehearsal before the school year commences allows your child to become familiar with the routine, leading to a seamless transition when school starts (McCafferty, 2023).
Tour the school and classroom with your child: Familiarizing your child with the school's layout, including locations such as restrooms, gymnasium, classroom, front office, counselor's office, library, and playground, can ease their navigation within the school environment. This tour, preferably conducted before the school term begins, can be arranged through the school and could even involve meeting your child's teacher and educational assistant (EA) in advance (McCafferty, 2023).
Read social stories about returning to school: Sharing social stories with your child helps them understand that feeling nervous about returning to school is normal. These stories can also provide insights into what they can anticipate at school, presented in an engaging manner tailored to your child's enjoyment (Lim, 2023).
Develop a calendar: Utilize a calendar to keep track of your child's daily schedule. Encourage your child to mark off each day, fostering their awareness of the date and helping them anticipate their activities at school (McCafferty, 2023).
Create a personalized profile for your child: Crafting a profile containing information about your child's preferred reinforcers, sensory sensitivities, and positive attributes can significantly benefit everyone who interacts with your child at school. This proactive measure equips teachers and support staff with valuable insights to effectively accommodate your child's needs (McCafferty, 2023). Be sure to update this profile as needed, especially if your child has made progress over the summer, ensuring accuracy for those who may have interacted with your child before (Lim, 2023).