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Adjusting to a New School Year With a Child With Autism

The new school year is just around the corner, and with the new school year comes changes for both children and parents. These changes can include new routines, new teachers, new classmates, and possibly a new school. Children with autism thrive on routine, so these changes may be more difficult for them. Below are some strategies to make this adjustment to the new school year go smoothly.

Strategies to Help Your Child with Autism Adjust to the New School Year:

  • Begin the new routine a few weeks or even a month early – This will allow your child to adjust to theHelp Your Child with Autism Adjust to School new bedtime and wake-up routine before the school year begins. Also include any dressing and eating routines that normally occur during the school year.
  • Create a visual schedule for your child to follow – This can help with daily routines such as dressing, eating, and bedtime routines.
  • If your child is going to a new school take a tour of the school and visit all the areas your child will go (classroom, lunch room, gym, bathroom, etc.).
  • Meet the teacher and classroom staff – This will allow your child to get acquainted with all of the people he will be working with during the school year. It also allow the staff to become familiar with the child and for you to ask any questions you may have about the upcoming school year.
  • Share important information with the teacher – Provide notes for the teacher which include any triggers that cause behaviors to occur, along with successful strategies on how to handle these behaviors. Also give a list of items/activities that can be used as reinforcers.
  • Keep open lines of communication between you and the teacher – Let your child’s teacher know from the beginning that you would like to have open communication and that you want to be informed of both issues/concerns as well as successes.
  • Allow for an adjustment period – Everyone takes time to adjust to new things. Allow time for both you and your child to adjust to the new school year, and remember to be patient with your child during his adjustment.

What to Expect When You Suspect Autism Download our free, 17-Page eBook

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

What to Do When a Teacher Notices Concerns About Your Child

With the new school year well underway, teachers are beginning to gain information regarding their student’s areas of strength and weakness.  Many times teachers are hesitant to bring up concerns to parents.  Also, many parents will want to take a ‘wait and see’ approach in order to help determine whether or not these areas of concern will go away on their own.  Our advice to both parents and teachers is this: Do not wait and act now. 

Advice for teachers regarding bringing up student concerns to parents:

  • Collect anecdotal data to reveal the concern to the parents.
  • Provide the parents with the strategies that have already been tried in the classroom.
  • Provide the parents with specifics as to how the behaviors of interest are impacting the child’s learning or social needs.

Advice for parents regarding handling concerns brought up by teachers:

  •  Do not take the concern as an insult about your parenting or your child.
  • Ask the teacher questions about the frequency and duration of the behaviors.  When are they occurring? Read more