Those with autism love routine. It is likely that they have been following the same routine since the day that they were born, or at least since you discovered their diagnosis. However, when school starts, that routine is thrown out of the window. Your child is now entering unfamiliar territory and this can be awful when it comes to autism. On this page, we are going to take a look at how autism and school can work together. We will walk you through how you can prepare your child for the first day of school.
Preparation for school begins weeks in advance
As mentioned at the start, the routine is important to a child with autism. As a result, if you want to make autism and school work, you need to start familiarising your child with a new routine as soon as possible. We recommend that you start a routine which is similar to what the child will experience on a school day. For example, get them up at the time that they would normally be woken up, carry out any activities at the schedule a ‘school’ will. It is minor preparation, but many parents with autistic children report that it works wonders.
In addition to this, if your child is going to be required to wear a uniform at school, then you may want to encourage them to wear it around the house. This way they can get used to wearing it!
Discuss school with your child
A child with autism, or any child for that matter, is going to want to be familiar with a new situation. They want to know everything that there is to know about their new environment. Ask them if they have any concerns about school. Tell them what they can expect.
Many schools out there are accommodating to children who are on the spectrum. You may wish to get in touch with the school to find out whether your child will be able to meet their teacher or have a quick tour of the school ‘in advance’. Again, this is something small but it really does work wonders when it comes to ensuring that your child is familiar with the environment.
As you may well know, a common problem for those on the spectrum is the inability to socialise with others. As a result, many parents, just before the child starts school, will look for ways in which they can introduce their child to the social aspect of school. For example, they may start to schedule more playdates. They may look for events in the local area which will give the child a chance to mix with other people, or they may send their child for a half-day at a ‘day care’. Social situations seem to be very beneficial when it comes to autism and school, and you will be surprised at how willing your child can integrate with people on the ‘first day’.