Going back to school for a child on the autism spectrum is quite a stressful and anxiety filled event every year. The thought of new teachers, new classes and new routines can cause anxiety to spike and your child is most likely to have more meltdowns than normal.
It is one day before Padawan and Malaika Rose return to school and we have two different scenarios in the house, Padawan is a typical Aspie that is very excited to find out who his teacher is and to see his friends, but most importantly to start school because he simply loves it. I asked him once what he dislikes most about school and he said break time because its boring and he loves doing class work. Today he decided to enjoy his last day of holiday watching you tube channels because when school is on - no more tech!
Malaika Rose on the other hand, an Aspie with PDA, is over-active in preparing for the first day of school. We can see the slow build-up of anxiety behind all the organisation, but she is handling it very well at the moment. We are expecting a possible meltdown later tonight when the reality that school is starting tomorrow hits.
Here are a few tips on preparing your child for school and we hope it works for you!
- Talk through the first week with your child.
- Make a planning chart together to ensure there is a familiar structure.
- Try and ask the teacher to send you a roster as quick as he/she is able to, so that you can prepare your child for how every day of the week will look.
- Try and be a bit more patient during this period as it is stressful for us parents too, just remember we know how to process new information, while a child with ASD finds this very difficult.
- Get a few toys/fidgets for distraction and for calming. If your child is too old for this, try distracting them by talking about something else that may excite them, a birthday coming up or a tv show starting, their hobby etc.
- Try preparing you child in the smallest details like a lunch roster, what they would like in their lunchbox every day to eliminate more surprise and unfamiliarity.
- Pack their school bag and school clothes out prior to the first day of school so that there is less chaos the morning of school.
- At the end of each day, talk about what was good and what was bad in his/her day to see where you can make changes in their routine so that the positives always outweigh the negative.
These are tips from our household to yours. We really hope it can be of some help to you, and remember we are all in this together, so please feel free to share your tips with us too.
-Sincerely, Nikita and the ARSA team