Returning to school after the summer holiday break can often be a difficult transition for many children and teenagers on the autism spectrum. Starting a new class, or a new school, can cause anxiety and uncertainty. New teachers, unfamiliar environments, new curriculum can all be stressful and overwhelming for individuals on the spectrum. Here are our top 8 tips to help them prepare for a successful school year.
- Start in advance – talk to your child about what to expect well before the school holidays are over. This can also be developed as a visual story for your child
- Countdown the days – have a visual calendar and mark off the days until school starts
- Visit the school / Meet the teacher – if possible, visit the school/classroom before school recommences and meet your new teacher. If possible, have a photo of your child’s teacher to help your child remember and remind them of who they are
- Communication – help your child’s new teacher get to know them. Prepare a one page summary of your child for the teacher, describing their strengths, challenges, triggers and best methods of supports
- Practice – summer holidays are long and it’s easy to forget some of the skills they’ve already mastered! Practice social skills, playground etiquette, daily skills and communication to help make the start of the school year easier
- Routine – establish a school routine and practice it before school recommences. Make sure you have a visual schedule of the routine for your child to follow
- Anxiety – spend time talking with your child about how they are feeling. Answer any questions they have and discuss ways they can help manage their anxiety
- Be organised – make sure you are organised and ready for the first day of school. The more prepared you are, the smoother it will be for your child.
For any further information on supporting children on their transition to school, contact Interaction Disability Services on 1300 668 123 or email@example.com