Top tips for your child with autism starting school

The tips below will provide a starting point for preparing your child with autism for the new school year ahead.

 

Top Tips

Communicate

Start talking about the new school year well in advance. Having conversations about school schedules, what to expect and things they are looking forward to or worried about can help alleviate their concerns.

Get organised at home

School mornings can be very rushed and stressful. It can be helpful to prepare for the school days in advance. One way of preparing is to create a visual schedule or packing list with your child. This will help them understand what they need for school and develop their independence.

Practice school routines

Practice new routines to allow your child time to get comfortable with them before the school year starts. By slowly introducing these new routines (sleep & wake up times, daily meal schedules) you can help your child adjust to changes outside of the normal routine.

Visit the school in advance

If you can, try to visit the school before the start of the year to help your child become familiar with the school environment. Identify where they will be spending most of their time to help reduce uncertainty in the first few days of school.

Develop a profile for the teaching staff

Prepare a short student profile with your child, for their teacher and support staff. This can help with introductions and making the staff aware of your child’s strengths, stressors and how best to help with these.

Meet the teacher in advance

This can help reduce stress for you and your child. Check with the school to see if you can arrange a time to meet teachers or support staff before the start of school. This will give you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have and go over the individual goals and specific needs your child may have.

It could also be an opportunity for your child to meet their teachers before the start of the year.

Here are some examples of how your school may be able to help: https://www.onethingforautism.com.au/10-education-things/

Give yourself and your child extra time to process

The first few weeks of school can be very challenging and confusing for your child, causing them to become tired and behave differently. Allow yourselves some extra time to relax at the end of a school day before starting your afternoon/ evening routines.

Introduce your child to new uniform and equipment early

Before starting school, give your child a chance to try on new uniforms and identify any sensory issues before the beginning of the school year. Test out equipment they will be using at school to help them become familiar with some of the everyday activities they will be doing.

 

Being proactive in the run up to the new school year by starting the conversations about school with your child early and introducing them to routines can help with your child’s transition into the new school year.

We hope these tips help provide a starting point to preparing your child for their school adventure next year!

 

Sources:

https://www.amaze.org.au/2022/01/back-to-school-tips-for-your-child/

https://raisingchildren.net.au/autism/school-play-work/autism-spectrum-disorder-primary-school/starting-primary-school-asd

https://www.appliedbehavioranalysisprograms.com/lists/5-tips-for-a-smooth-start-of-the-school-year-for-your-child-with-autism/

https://bcotb.com/7-ways-to-prepare-your-child-with-autism-for-starting-school/

5 Things You Need to Know About Autism

1. An estimated 1 in 70 Australians are on the autism spectrum

That is approximately 353,880 people living with ASD in Australia. It is four times more common in boys than girls (Aspect Australia).

2. Every person with ASD is an individual

Autism advocate, Dr Stephen Shore, famously said; “If you’ve met one person with Autism, you’ve met one person with Autism.” There is great diversity within the autism spectrum. Whilst differences in communication, social interaction, sensory receptivity, and highly focused are common in those with ASD, it’s important to understand that these characteristics blend differently for each individual.

3. Communication may be a challenge

People with ASD often struggle with small talk or social etiquette. They may not realise if they are talking too long or in too much detail about their special interest.

Autism.org.uk has some useful tips on communication with someone on the spectrum, such as:

  • using their name to get attention, making sure they’re listening
  • speaking less or repeating keywords
  • keeping questions short or offering choice, like ‘which option do you prefer?’
  • being aware of excess sensory input that may be distracting
  • avoiding irony, sarcasm, figurative language, rhetorical questions or exaggeration

4. People on the spectrum make great employees

Research shows that there are business benefits to hiring neuro-diverse staff. This is sometimes described as diversity in thinking and innovation, and in thinking styles and abilities. “People on the spectrum often demonstrate trustworthiness, strong memories, reliability, adherence to rules and attention to detail. They are often good at coding – a skill in high demand,” says Training Industry.

5. Individuals with ASD can continuously improve.

Autism is not degenerative. Individuals are likely to improve and thrive with specialised, individualised services and opportunities for supported inclusion.

LiveBig offers a range of supports for those on the spectrum including Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy and Behaviour Support.

If you or your family member is on the Autism Spectrum and would like to know more about LiveBig’s services, contact us today.

Make an enquiry
Scroll