New teachers, new classrooms, new friends, new routines. A lot of things about going back to school are going to be new for your child, even if they’re going back to the same building. So it’s important for you as a parent to recognize that this change, like most changes, might be a difficult one for your son or daughter with autism.
Luckily, however, there are plenty of things you can do to get your child ready to go back to school in the fall. Most of these strategies are basic and don’t require a lot of extra effort, but they’ll go a long way toward making the transition from summer to school go more smoothly.
Here are some of our favorite ways to equip your child for success in a new school year:
5. Refamiliarize your child with what they learned last year.
Children who don’t read and practice school skills over the summer forget a large portion of what they learned the previous year. If you haven’t been practicing school subjects with your child, it’s time to get started! Taking a “refresher course” will make schoolwork less frustrating (and less likely to result in a meltdown) in the coming year. This might include extra trips to the library, completion of daily workbook pages, or just regular discussions about topics your child should remember from last year.
4. Arrange to meet teachers and classmates before school starts.
Having someone you know nearby can make a new environment much easier to handle. So arranging for your child to meet and become familiar with the people he or she will be spending the next several months with can be a big step toward back-to-school success.
Setting up a meeting with your child’s teacher shouldn’t be too difficult, but you might also be able to request a class list that will allow you to connect with other parents and help your child make some friends before school starts.
3. Ask for a schedule ahead of time.
When you ask for that class list, also ask your child’s teacher for a daily schedule of activities. Will your child do math in the morning? Silent reading after lunch? History before recess? Knowing these details can help you begin to structure your child’s day similarly to how it will be structured in school.
Whether or not you’re able to get your hands on a schedule of activities, you can at the very least start your school-time morning routine a little early to get your child used to getting ready for school every day.