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Preparing for Back to School with Your Child on the Spectrum

Summer is almost over and that means the new school year is approaching. Although going back to school is full of excitement and new beginnings, it also can be a somewhat stressful or chaotic time. Whether it is switching up schedules or routines, meeting new people, or going to a new school, all of these factors can combine and turn what is supposed to be a joyful time into a stressful one. We have compiled a list of helpful tips that will improve back to school time for your child on the spectrum.

Although each article is full of helpful information, these points stuck out to us as insightful and unique ideas to provide some assistance to you and your family this upcoming school year.

American Autism Association
“Back to School Preparation for Children with Autism” 

by American Autism Association

This article puts a strong emphasis on the importance of setting up an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) with your child’s school. These plans can be tailored to fit your child’s needs and help them make the most of their upcoming school year. It also allows the parent to be involved and keep up to date with the child’s class experience and offer suggestions as needed.

The Scope Radio
“Make it Less Stressful for Children with Autism to Return to School”

by Dr. Kyle Bradford Jones

Parents – meet with your child’s teacher(s) prior to the beginning of the new school year! During this meeting, Dr. Jones shares that parents should alert teachers to some of the triggers that set off inappropriate behaviors. He also suggests telling the teacher(s) about methods they can use to calm your child down in a safe and efficient manner. In the long run, this will benefit not only your child, but their classmates as well.

Autism Speaks logo

“17 Helpful Tips to Transition Your Child With Autism Back to School”

by Kimberlee Rutan McCafferty

This post was written by the mother of two boys who have autism. She suggests taking a tour of the school prior to the new school year can be very beneficial for your child. It allows them to find and become familiar with important places in the building such as the cafeteria, bathrooms, and main office. So when school finally begins, they will have confidence in where they are going and where the rooms they will frequent are located.

“Back to School Tips”

by Pathfinders for Autism

Clothes are really important to some children. In this post, the focus is clothes. From picking out a “cool” first day outfit, to washing and cutting the labels off to improve comfort, your child’s clothes can make a big difference on the first day. Whether its about first impressions or comfort levels, this aspect is not to be overlooked.

“13 Ways to Help Prep a Child With Autism For Back-to-School Season”

by Hallie Levine

Shifting from a summer schedule to a school schedule can truly be a challenge, especially for children who depend on a routine. Slowly working your child’s summer sleep schedule into one that works with a school schedule will not only help your child, but also you. With some preparation, when the first day rolls around, your child will (hopefully) be up, on time, and ready to go.

“5 Tips to Prepare Your Autistic Child for the School Year”

by Angela Conrad

Mom and blogger, Angela Conrad, has two boys on opposite ends of the spectrum. She is an advocate for the use of social stories, especially when prepping for a new school year. Preparing your child with visuals of what to expect when returning back to school can reduce stress and make for a much smoother transition from summer, to the classroom.

Living Autism logo

“Back to School – Tips for Parents of Children on the Autism Spectrum”

by Lee A. Wilkinson PhD

“Expect the unexpected”. Parents should try their best to explain to their child that sometimes unexpected things just happen! This is a difficult concept for children who require a routine. But you can help by giving them the tools to try to cope with the situation. Also, working with the teacher can be important so they notice the signs if your child seems to be confused, or they start to become triggered by unexpected turns of events. The teacher can then handle appropriately, and notify you.

We hope these tips can help make your transition back to school easy and fun.
PHI wishes everyone a safe and exciting new school year!

For more ideas on transitioning back into school, check out these PHI blog posts:

 5 Back to School Tips for Special Needs

Helping Students with ASD Prepare for a New School Year



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