Tuesday, August 14, 2012

5 Tips to Help Autism Students For the School Year

  1. It's important to gradually transition from a summertime sleep schedule to a school year sleep schedule. Start this transition at least two weeks ahead of time, so your child doesn't feel the change is abrupt and extreme. 
  2. Get Organized. Review the materials sent by the school. Share information with your child so they can start processing what to expect early on. Pick up your school supplies early and encourage your child to help with choosing them. A few weeks before the first day of school, drive with your child to their school. Walk the hallways and classroom-take pictures. Review the pictures on a daily basis to help your child process the change in a gradual, non-overwhelming manner. 
  3. Set aside quiet time. With all of the new information, it's easy for children with autism to get overwhelmed. Be sure to set aside quiet time and employ transitional tools. 
  4. Get active. While downtime is important, physical activity is crucial to helping a child with autism deal with high levels of frustration from sensory difficulties. Physical exercise addresses and modulates both excessive stimulation and under-stimulation conditions. This enables students to attend to the cognitive information presented to them during the day.
  5. Prepare for the bus ride. Riding the bus is very stressful, almost all year, depending on the culture of that particular bus. The children know when they get to school a teacher will take care of situations that arise.  On the bus, they do not have this same reassurance. Busses are noisy, chaotic, and disorganized...and can be very threatening to someone who is sensitive to noise and unsure about the physical and social process on the bus. Call the transportation office to see if the driver will be doing a practice run before school starts; ask if they will drive by your bus stop to introduce the driver to your child and give your child a sense of how the bus ride will begin. The ability to visual the bus and driver in advance will help less the anxiety your may feel in anticipation. 

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