Preparing Your Child for Back-to-School

August 18, 2015

Remember that Staples commercial, “Its the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” song playing as parents prance around the store happily gathering school supplies all the while their children mope at the thought of the start of the school year?  Getting back in the swing of things can be hard for most students but even more so for children on the spectrum.  Students with autism already have trouble with communication, socializing and emotional control, why make it any more anxiety ridden than it needs to be?  Follow some simple common-sense tips to making the transition back to school an easier one.

  • Sleep schedule adjustments – Staying up late and sleeping in tend to be hallmarks of a fun summer routine.  Prepare ahead by going to bed earlier and starting to move toward the regular school wake up time.
  • Visit and Practice – Whether your child is going back to the same school or moving on to a new one, it is always a good idea to visit and walk the halls to find the classroom(s)  when possible.  Meeting a teacher or two in the process will also help fight off the first day nerves.
  • Shop – Gather supplies and necessary items well in advance so your child feels prepared and may even get a little excited!
  • Prepare Paperwork – The dreaded back to school paperwork packet can be daunting.  Get it done in advance if at all possible.  Figure out any medications, dietary needs and medical forms well in advance so you can concentrate on your child the first few days.
  • Go Zen – One thing that many parents overlook in trying to calm their child is actually being calm themselves.  Remember kids pick up on our moods fairly well.
  • Practice – Remind your child the skills whether academic or social that they learned in previous years that will help them get through the first stressful days.