Starting It Right: School Days Are Here Again


It’s that wonderful time of the year once again! Early morning coffee preparing breakfast and lunch bags lined up before our kiddos finish packing homework and bulky Science projects. Oh, how I used to fret over what menu to prepare for my kids while growing up. To most Autism parents, however, every beginning of the school year can be quite a challenge– and it definitely does not have something to do with their meals.

Parents of children with developmental and behavioral issues like Autism, ADHD, Down’s syndrome and so on have a growing concern on what lies beyond an uneaten breakfast feast. From untouched packed lunch to going home with a black eye or bruises due to meltdowns, or worse, being reprimanded for assault and other violent reactions to certain stimulants. Add to that the constant barrage of abuses from the very people entrusted for their care. Or news of a child being left behind inside a school bus or dropped off somewhere he’s unfamiliar with.

Each day, a parent to an autism child has to wake up to such dreadful thoughts. But in the pursuit of letting our children spread their wings and gain knowledge beyond what we can offer in the comfort of our homes, keeping a positive outlook must be embraced to ensure a smoother transition not just for ourselves but that of our children’s as well. It is important to remember that kids with autism or other developmental disorder need to gain access to such evidence-based aspects to progress.

So, aside from keeping one’s optimism (we call it #AUptimism!) on high, the following tips may be of help in easing your child’s way back to school:

  • For new students, take time to visit and talk with school staff before school starts, at least a week before classes. Take pictures and short videos to introduce to your kid. If school has already begun before your transfer, consider bringing your kid along for a few minutes of observation. This will give him a sense of familiarity to a new surrounding.

  • Initiate collaboration with teachers and caregivers in the school community. Got a new diagnosis, health concern, medical evaluation or other relevant information? Share this with his or her classroom adviser and guidance counselor. Add what teaching methods and strategies have worked in tha past, too. Doing so will help raise awareness and for school carers to provide needed support.

  • Always keep a calendar handy. There are erasable calendar decals which you can install on kitchen walls or a child’s study room. Try to indicate important dates and events as well as motivational words and caricatures. This will keep a child informed and more prepared as well as inspired to go to school.

  • While all school-based prepping is important, starting at least a week before the summer ends is the best time to establish a routine. Drastic change doesn’t always sit well to children with Autism and other developmental disorder. Setting boundaries like an earlier bedtime or restrictions to watching TV, playing video games or surfing the Net will help ease their transition.

Starting the school year right will have lasting impact all throughout the year. Yes, it’s going to be a struggle particularly to parents to children with Autism and other developmental disorder. The idea is to keep your patience turbocharged each time. The ultimate prize to your sacrifice will very well prepare your child for life.

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Autism, school, education, parenting, developmental disorder, ADHD, Autism Awareness, Autism Acceptance, Autism Safety

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