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Transitioning Back to School: Tips for Parents

back to school - Austin Texas

Beginning a new school year is both exciting and nerve-racking for parents and children. The transition is especially challenging for families with children on the autism spectrum. While transitions are difficult, there are things families can do to help prepare their children for the new school year. Keep these tips in mind to make the transition back to school a success:

Prepare your child for change

The beginning of a new school year brings many changes at once. Familiarize your child with anything new related to school as much as possible. This may mean bringing your child into their school or classroom, showing your child a picture of their teacher and any classmates, or even meeting the teacher before the first day of school.

Resume routines

Over summer vacation your child’s morning and evening routines may have changed. They may be waking up and going to bed at different times. Start adjusting your child to the school year schedule and routine well before the school year actually begins.

Prepare your child’s teacher

When it comes to your children, you are the expert! Just as your child may need some preparation for a new teacher, your child’s teacher will benefit from getting to know your child ahead of time. Make sure to share any tips or tricks you have learned about your child, including strengths and challenges, what motivates him/her, and how to respond when he/she is upset.

Review the “hidden curriculum”

While many children switch easily between the social demands of summer and those required in a classroom, children on the autism spectrum may need more explicit reminders. The hidden curriculum refers to social information that is not directly taught, but is assumed that everyone knows. Go over the “dos and don’ts” of acceptable school behavior. More information regarding the hidden curriculum can be found here.

1 reply
  1. Curtis Butler
    Curtis Butler says:

    Thanks for mentioning how you should help your child adjust their sleep schedule so that it better aligns with the routine that they will follow when school begins. My wife and I have been thinking about sending our daughter to preschool so that she can practice reading when we’re at work during the day, but we’re worried that she may have trouble waking up early since she likes staying up late to watch movies. Maybe we should help our child adjust to her new schedule before she goes to preschool.


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