The new academic year can be challenging for any child. After all, entering a new grade (or school entirely) comes with a shift in responsibilities and expectations. They will also have to adjust to a new teaching style and re-integrate with their peers after spending a lot of time at home. Furthermore, due to school closures in 2020, these changes may feel even more intense as students transition from homeschooling and to a classroom environment. However, the prospect of returning to school may be even more difficult for children with Autism and related disorders.

 

As such, it’s important that you find as many ways as possible to prepare your child to go back to school!

 

Talk about going back to school ahead of time. Children with autism often react best to new situations when they are able to prepare for them ahead of time. Therefore, you should ensure you give them plenty of advance warning before their first day at school rolls around. One way in which you can achieve this goal is by making it part of your daily conversation. For example, you could ask them what they are most excited about learning in the new year, especially if their special interests align with the school curriculum. You can also bring it up more casually by saying, ‘School starts in ___ days, let’s get everything ready!’. Shopping for new clothes and supplies is another great way to help them feel more prepared.

 

Ask to meet their new teacher ahead of time. As your child moves into a new grade at school, it’s likely that they will also be assigned a new teacher. While this can be incredibly exciting, it does mean a slight deviation from what they are used to – as they may have grown accustomed to a specific teacher’s teaching style or behaviors. Thankfully, there are various ways in which you can go about making your child feel more comfortable with a new teacher. For example, you could ask if they can meet with their teacher ahead of time, ideally in their new classroom, to get a feel for the space. Alternatively, you could schedule a quick zoom session with the teacher so that your child can introduce themselves and ask any questions they might have.

 

Set new goals for the academic year. Children with autism and related disorders are often very driven and like to present themselves with a series of challenges. As such, they usually thrive in an academic environment. Therefore, you can help them feel more excited about starting school by encouraging them to set themselves new goals for the academic year.

 

Put together a schedule. Children with autism or related disorders also tend to thrive when operating in a clearly structured environment. In this regard, attending school each day works in the favor – as they will be expected to arrive at the same time each morning and eat lunch at the same time each day. However, you can support them during this time by putting together a clear schedule for the rest of their time. For example, they should have a short break after school before doing their homework or participating in extra-curricular activities.

 

In short, there are various steps you can take to support your child as they prepare for the new school year. Doing so will support them through these changes and ensure they put their best foot forward. However, if you think they may need some additional support – we offer both in-person and online therapy services designed to help children with autism and related disorders thrive in any situation.

Any questions? Give us a call!

401-228-8303

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