9 Tips to Help your Autistic Child for the New School Year

CBC posted a great article to help kick off the new school year today. Transitioning from summer to school routines can be a big change for kids and parents. However, for children with with anxiety or autism who struggle with transitions it may amplify those feelings. They may be both excited about the school year and anxious about it, especially if it is their first year attending school.

Here are 9 tips to help deal with the new school year ahead and tame those anxious feelings for both student & parent –

  1. Your own social story – find or write your own social story about going to school and read it through with your child. A social story can be a great way to introduce them to school expectations and routines.
  2. Introduce yourself & your child – write a letter or email to your child\’s teacher to explain your child\’s diagnoses, strengths, weaknesses and interests. An Inclusion and Intervention Plan/Individualized Education Plan (IIP/IEP) meeting will likely not be scheduled right away so this tip is a great way to help your child\’s teacher know what to expect or how to best help your child.
  3. Update the school – make sure your child\’s school is aware of your child\’s diagnoses, especially if it is your child\’s first year of school or if it is your child\’s first year in a new school.
  4. Sensory tools – if your child has strong sensory preferences, then be sure to include a favourite sensory tool or two (such as a chew necklace or noise-reducing earmuffs) in your child\’s backpack. Think of it like having a calm-down toolkit for on the go! It can be a lifesaver to have those calm-down tools handy on field trips throughout the school year!
  5. Open communication – talk to your child about the upcoming school year, explain the routines, discuss all the fun new things he or she will learn, etc. Engaging in an open dialogue with your child can help ease any anxiety they may have and get them excited for the school year.
  6. Read – read books about going to school, especially if it\’s your child\’s first year of school, to help prepare them for the school year.
  7. Establish an after school routine – so your child knows what is expected of him or her as soon as they return home from school. It can be things such as emptying the backpack, having a snack, doing their homework and/or having some quiet unwinding time. I highly suggest offering your child some time to unwind after school to reduce the likelihood of an after-school meltdown.
  8. Establish a bedtime routine – in order to have your child waking up on time every school morning, getting them to bed at a regular time is important. So be sure to establish a consistent bedtime routine for the school year in the days or weeks leading up to the new school year.
  9. Pick-up and drop-off – discuss the school drop-off and pickup procedures with your child. Will they be picked up and dropped off by someone? Will they be walking to and from school by themselves, or with a friend or with a parent? Make sure your child knows how they will be getting to and from school safely for the duration of the school year.

To read the full article, click here. We hope you found these tips useful. Most importantly, here\’s to another great school year ahead!