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.
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.