To read part one of this blog, click here: Preparing Children with Autism for the Transition Back to School
Tour the school/meet the staff
It is always a good idea to be able to go into the school a couple of days before it starts, with your child, and to get a tour around the classrooms, cafeteria, gym, music room, library, etc., so it is not overwhelming on the first day of school. This is also a great opportunity to have your child meet all of his teachers.
Having a visual or written schedule in school and/or at home helps children with autism transition between tasks. When introducing a schedule always teach that a star or lightening picture represents a “surprise” for when there is a change in the schedule. It is helpful to have a little “all done” pocket for a visual schedule, so children are able to take the picture off when the task has been completed and put it in the all done pocket.
Social stories are a great tool to utilize with children with autism. You can create a social story about anything! A social story is a way of describing situations and breaking it down into a way that your child can understand. When writing a social story make sure to include the who, what, and where of the topic, the desired responses, and feelings of others. Social stories need to be written in the present tense, be age appropriate, and must include pictures that go along with the story.
Last but not least, make sure to have communication with your child’s teacher. Find out what works best for you, whether it’s through email, phone calls, or a communication sheet/book. This is a great way to make sure everything is going smoothly for your child’s transition, and that you and the teacher are on the same page.