Advocate For Your Child With Preparation
Children with cognitive or developmental disabilities, such as Autism or FASD, thrive with predictable, consistent routines. Summer holiday’s are a massive departure from the structure found within the school year thus making the transitional period between the school year and summer quite significant.
With September right around the corner, we have put together some of our top tips and a couple resources to assist you in preparing for your child’s back-to-school transition.
It is important to time your reintroduction of school correctly, if you begin preparing them too early your child may develop anxiety, too late and your child may not be adequately prepped. The sweet spot for most is about 1.5 to 2 weeks before school starts back up.
Top 3 Tips
The strategies used for preparing your child for the new school year will be completely unique to them and will depend on their personality and diagnoses. The following are some general tips for easing the transition.
1. Scheduling Adjustments
Begin swinging back to earlier bedtimes and wakeup times to more closely match the the school year schedule. Black out blinds are a great investment and will help your child fall asleep earlier.
Start following the same breakfast, snack, and lunch schedules that your child will be having in school to your best abilities. Try incremental changes to making these modifications.
2. Visual and Auditory Cues
Simple visual cues are extremely beneficial for both verbal and non-verbal children.
- The use of calendars make time more concrete and tangible
- Pictures of standard school items are effective in helping children understand what to expect. Download some school graphics here.
- Sharing photos of their teachers.
3-4 days before school begins try placing out their backpack, lunch, and shoes near the door as long as this is does not cause anxiety.
Personalizing a back-to-school story for your child is an excellent method to provide gentle reminders of the school routine. Download a story template here.
3. Reintroduction into the Environment
Reintroducing your child into their school environment is another step that will prove to be effective in helping with the first few days of school. Roughly 3-4 days before the beginning of school, start taking trips over to the school and if possible go inside and walk to their classroom.
Your goal is to work towards providing your child with a positive experience, especially within the first week. Diligence in preparing your child for the start of the new school year will help to ensure a smooth back to school transition for your child.
Check our blog during the first week of September for a few further tips on how to help your child adjust to and enjoy their school day routine!