School Starts: Preparing Your Child with Autism
1. Introduce Routines
Happy 2018! As the new school year starts in Malaysia, children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) usually have issues adjusting out of their holiday routine back into their school routine. To assist children with Autism to gradually transition back into the school routine, it would help to introduce school related routines when the school year is drawing near. For example, making your child gradually go to bed and wake up earlier to ensure that they will adjust to school timing by the time the school year begins.
2. Exposure to Various Social Settings
During the holidays, it would help your child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to be exposed to playgroups or play dates with their classmates. These situations would help the child with Autism to get used to seeing and being around their friends even during the holidays. It would also help if parents can prompt appropriate social behaviors and responses to assist children with their social skills. This would help children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) less fearful and look forward to starting school.
3. Mental Preparation
To help ease your child with Autism into the upcoming school year, it would also help to frequently talk about what to expect in the upcoming year. For example, what the teacher would be like or what class trips he or she will be going on.
4. Meeting the Teacher
It would also help to meet the class teacher prior to starting school. It would be good to discuss strengths, deficits, potential triggers, reinforcers, and how the school can help to support your child. If it is possible, it would also be great for your child to meet the teacher as well for familiarisation.
5. Using a Calendar
Starting a new school year can be a very anxious process for many autistic children. Visual aids such as a calendar can help the child have a better idea when school will be starting. As school is approaching, days can be crossed off the calendar. This may reduce anxiety for some children.
Hope these tips helped and have an amazing 2018 ahead!