Beginning a new school year with any child can be harrowing for parents! You may wonder, “Will my child get the support that he needs?” or “How will I communicate with her teacher?” and “What can I do as a parent to reinforce what is happening in the classroom?” These questions and worries can be even greater when the child in question has a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. The first step in starting any school year is to think proactively and approach your child’s classroom teacher prior to beginning the year!
Below are some tips for having a fun and successful year for you and your child with autism:
- Communication – Communication is key! It is vital to communicate with your child’s teacher before starting school. Letting the teacher know all about your child and his or her strengths will help the teacher provide the best care in the school setting. Additionally, set up means to communicate in an ongoing manner with your child’s teacher—this could be email, notes in your child’s backpack, or even a notebook that the child writes in themselves outlining their day!
- Reinforcement – Give the teacher a list of things that are motivating to your child that the teacher can incorporate into your child’s day, and keep him or her learning!
- Triggers – Letting the teacher know what can be triggering to your child will help avoid potential problematic behaviors in the classroom. This allows school staff to be proactive about managing potential challenging behavior.
- Calming strategies – Let the teacher know what works best for calming your child down if he or she becomes upset.
All in all, STAY POSITIVE and BE PATIENT! Remember that the beginning of the school year is a time of getting comfortable and establishing routines…for kids and adults alike!
For additional information, check out our other Autism and school blogs.
NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Glenview, Lake Bluff, Des Plaines, Hinsdale and Milwaukee. 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!
Jennifer Bartell is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and educator with over a decade of experience working with learners diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, double majoring in psychology and music performance, and earning a place on the Dean’s List. Following a move to New York City, Jennifer received her Master of Special Education degree from the City University of New York—Hunter College, wherein she specialized in Behavior Disorders and became dual certified to teach both the general and special education populations. While in New York, Jennifer was a part of the opening of the innovative NYC Autism Charter School—the first of its kind on the east coast—and had the opportunity to work in classrooms with reduced and one-to-one ratios and a curriculum created using the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis. Here she worked extensively with learners between the ages of 3 and 18, and presenting with an array of challenges, skill deficits, and abilities. Jennifer has vast experience in creating programming for community-based instruction, adaptive daily living skills, and self-care, yet also employs her education background to provide high quality academic and cognitive services as well. A well-respected member of the home- and school-based organizations for whom she has provided services, Jennifer is frequently called upon to provide professional development and training for her colleagues and those she is supervising. Jennifer has presented at a number of professional Applied Behavior Analysis and education conferences for fellow educators, behavior analysts, and parents around the New York area.