Back to School: Easing the Transition for Children with ASD
It is August already, and you know what that means… back to school! Going back to school can bring a lot of mixed emotions for children with autism and their families. Some parents may be ready to get back to structure; some kids may not want to leave their awesome summer camps and programs. Whether you are looking forward to it or dreading it, the end of summer is near. For many children with autism, the difficulty with heading back to school is their fear of the unknown and the challenges that come with transitioning into a new routine. Here are some ideas to ease the back to school shift!
#1: Make a Countdown Song (or use mine)
· Write the back to school date on the calendar, make it really fun and colorful to add some extra incentive
· Each day, sing the countdown song with how many days are left until school starts, touching each day on the physical calendar with your child
Singing this song each day will help ease the transition back to school and may even help your child learn a new counting technique!
#2: Read a Social Story
· Use the template I have (by clicking on "social story" above) and add in your child’s school, teacher, grade, etc.
· Read the story to your child as often as he/she likes to help them feel comfortable with the changes that are coming
Many children with autism benefit from social stories. It gives them a chance to understand the expectations and experiences they will be having through a fun interactive story!
#3: Go Fact Finding
· Make a scavenger hunt out of the changes that will be happening for your child this year
· Use the worksheet I have (by clicking “scavenger hunt” above), and create the answers to the fill-in-the-blanks
o Ex: Print out a picture of your child’s new school as the answer to
This year I will go to _______________ (check out my example here)
· Hide the answers (whether written or visual) around the house, and have your child go hunting
· Add the pictures to the worksheet and go over all the details like you would a social story or, if you’re feeling very adventurous, make it into a song!
This is a great activity to get your child actively involved in learning about their new school and teachers!
These are just some ideas to make going back to school easier for you and your little one. I hope you are able to use one of these ideas in your home! If there are specific challenges that your child faces when going back to school that I didn’t mention here, I would love to hear from you and help you have a successful start to the year!
Check back next week for my post on the best gadgets and gear for the new school year!