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Many parents will say that the same thing happens every year after the summer: back to school. And therefore, your children will know very well what these new routines entail, such as getting up early or doing certain tasks. But what happens when we have a child with autism at home? On our site we help you prepare the child with autism for going back to school.
In this article I will explain why you should anticipate your child with autism going back to school and how to do it depending on the level of spatial-temporal understanding they have, and in relation to the necessary supports that they may need you to use.
People with autism need to know what is happening around them and being able to anticipate these changes can mean knowing how to act at all times. On many occasions, the anticipation of a new situation or an expected one that has changed at the last minute (you cannot go down to the park because it is raining) is of vital importance.
Anticipation prepares the child for future action, in this way we reduce the anxiety that sudden changes (inflexibility) or non-favorite activities can produce in him.
In addition, people with autism have their own tastes, desires and mental planning of what they want like any other (although in this case it is altered as previously mentioned by inflexibility, obsessions and rituals), so it is simply a matter of make use of your right as a person to know and understand what surrounds you in order to manage mentally in the most autonomous way their feelings and emotions about it.
And it is that September can be a very complex month because the return to normality can become a bit chaotic or lead us to the apathy of the new beginning of the school year. For this reason, how do we anticipate for our children with autism the new changes that will occur in September?
In the first place, and taking advantage of the fact that there are still some vacation days left, progressive changes can be introduced in the routines most susceptible to change, for example, putting some work activities on the table depending on the academic level and on the recommendations made by the educational professionals who serve the child and the family.
Make sure it is just enough time for him to accept the task, focus a bit, and succeed at it. The important thing is not the amount of time or the difficulty, but that the child's mind is necessarily flexible to accept the changes.
Make them therefore gradually, and little by little, introduce other small changes, so that you end up receiving the change as one more routine, thus working on flexibility and the reduction of hobbies and obsessions that may have occurred during the summer due to the lack of structure (this lack of structure does not have to have been the result of disorder in the home, if not rather, of the own family rest that we all need).
On the other hand, changes in family and school schedules will affect in some way the fatigue of all members of the household. Therefore, try to have him dine a little earlier than usual in summer and finish with a relaxing shower or bath. You can substitute the bathroom for a story or an activity inside the bed like making a little play of lights on the ceiling. It is in our hands to take certain strategies that relax our children and take advantage of them to indicate that the day is ending.
Next, and not for that reason, you should do the latter, if not quite the opposite, Make a daily agenda with those things your child will do. Actually, for people with autism it should be a routine to look at their schedule since it helps them to regulate their expectations about the day among many other reasons. However, and if you have not yet done so, it is advisable that you explain to your child at least the first day of school that awaits him.
If you don't have pictograms, use drawings or photographs. If your child already reads, it will be enough to write it and add some pictures explaining the positive behaviors that we expect from him such as 'being happy, calm, behaving well, etc'.
Finally, on the day of entering school, do an “important”. To do this, take a red pen or marker and write / draw the important events that will occur that day and the expected behavior. For example, 'important, Maria goes to school tomorrow, after school dad comes to pick her up; Maria has to be happy and calm. '
In short, it is necessary to anticipate changes such as the beginning of school for our children as it will help them to self-regulate and to know both what will happen and what is expected of them.
You can read more articles similar to How to prepare a child with autism for going back to school, in the Autism category on site.