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Summer is near end and it’s almost time to head back to school! Gearing your child up for a normal school routine after summer fun is no easy feat; however, practice makes perfect! We know children with autism thrive with consistency and previewing, so these seven tips should provide some comfort before that first day of school appears.
Are you dreading your "au-some" child's first week back to school because he or she is used to sleeping in now? Are you wondering how they will shift their sleeping habits back to normal? I believe I have an answer to your conundrum...
1. Follow Your Passion
I love flying! All my life I have been interested in anything aviation related: airports, travel, planes.
Note: These 5 activities can be done every day, and we recommend that parents create a schedule so that each of these activities takes place at the same time very day when possible. Having a schedule helps keep children with autism feel more secure and reduces anxiety. We also recommend posting a picture schedule (or words if your child can read so that they know what to expect each day.
Preparing your child with Autism for classroom routines is important. Whether it’s the start of the school year, transitioning back to classes from school breaks, or a refresher, common classroom routines can be easily adapted to suit your child’s needs and practiced in and outside the classroom. It is helpful to meet with the teachers and therapists working with your child to understand what their daily schedule in school is like to make a plan for how your child can be supported and successful.
Children come into this world with little knowledge of the world around them. As they grow they explore their environment, acquire knowledge about social norms, facts, and what is expected and accepted. For children with autism the expectations are the same. Learning how to interact with peers, teachers, and parents is a process that each developing child navigates.
Individuals with autism too often have been underrepresented and discriminated against in employment. A 2017 report from Drexel University found that only 14 percent of adults with autism held paid jobs in their communities. Another study found that employment rates for people on the spectrum were about 25 percent lower than those for people with other disabilities. Qualified autistic job seekers are being turned away: 45 percent of adults on the spectrum were over educated for the job they were performing. Of the 35 percent of autistic adults with college degrees, only 15 percent are employed.
The beginning of a new school year can be a difficult time for some children with autism. Shifting from the comfort of home to an environment packed with loud voices, stiff chairs, slamming doors, and a new structure can trigger anything from distraction and discomfort to full meltdowns.
Transitions from one activity to the next can be difficult for any child, especially if they are being asked to leave a preferred activity to instead do something they need to do. While some behaviors in response to transitions may look similar between neurotypical children and children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), the reasons behind the behaviors can differ. When a child is navigating life with ASD, the world can be an unpredictable place, and a set routine can help them feel more in control, greatly easing anxiety and frustration. If that routine needs to change for any reason, it can feel like someone pulled a rug out from underneath them, and they may feel emotionally overwhelmed in response.
Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) are defined as written plans outlining a program designed to meet the unique needs of one child. Walking into an IEP meeting prepared will help you and the school design the best plan for your child. Children with autism have distinctive needs, and in your role as an advocate for your child you can help school personnel understand what accommodations will be most successful in supporting your child’s strengths and weaknesses.
Summer camp can be a positive and enriching experience for children on the autism spectrum, providing an alternative to the rigorous school year routine and opportunities for peer interactions. However, finding the right fit for your child can be intimidating and does require research and planning - here are some steps to help get you started.
Travel can be a beautiful way to explore a new environment, bond as a family, and learn together. For children on the autism spectrum, travel can also mean venturing through unfamiliar routines and adjusting to stressful, chaotic situations. However, with thoughtful preparation, traveling can be an opportunity to show your child that a break from the usual routines can be a wonderful adventure. Use these 10 tips to help create a travel experience that is rewarding for everyone in your family.
With difficulty making sense of their surroundings and feelings of anxiety, children with autism often develop routines and rituals to have some form of order and structure to their lives. Everyday routines such as washing and teeth brushing are generally consistent. There are times, however, when routines change during events such as fire drills, field trips, and special occasions. During times of transition or change, children may be more likely to have tantrums, aggressive behavior, and show resistance. It is important to prepare children for the possibility of change and help them understand the procedures they need to follow during novel situations.
Friendships can have a major impact on wellbeing and personal growth, yet building new relationships can be anxiety provoking for adults and children alike. So, imagine how hard it can be for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), who may struggle to perceive social cues and respond in conventionally acceptable ways. As a result, they may have few friends and shy away from conversations or other interactions. Children with ASD need opportunities to build meaningful relationships and have many wonderful qualities to offer others. Using various strategies to help children with ASD build supportive friendships can help them live happier lives and realize their potential. Below are some approaches to consider and build upon:
Linda Hodgdon has been a long-time friend of Stages Learning and is author of the best-selling book, "Visual Strategies for Improving Communication." We have invited her to impart some of her wisdom and experience in a guest blog and she discusses an important topic that comes up often in the autism space.
If you have a student with autism, you probably have a list of situations where you deal with problem behaviors and meltdowns. Children with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are frequently identified because of their difficulties with communication and behavior. Visual strategies provide a solution.
It is common knowledge that people with disabilities tend to experience higher rates of unemployment and underemployment. Many employers seem to be unwilling to give disabled individuals a chance when they feel that their company’s success is at stake. However, according to the latest employment statistics, autistic adults are the most unemployed group when all individuals with disabilities are compared. The social idiosyncrasies of this group may lead employers to believe that they cannot complete the necessary tasks for the position, which is clearly an incorrect assumption. As someone with Asperger’s, I too have struggled to find full time employment, but my knowledge of what makes an ideal working environment has been very helpful with my journey. I would like to share my thoughts in this regard, and I hope that you find my advice to be beneficial as you enter the working world.
Summer is an important time to take a break from school routines, spend time with the family, and explore extracurricular interests. However, the transition from the more laid-back schedule of the summer to that of the school year can be stressful for students and parents alike. This article offers tips to help you and your child with your back-to-school transition.
Activities that are comforting, thrilling, or intolerable to people with autism can vary considerably from what a neuro-typical child or adult may experience in the same situation. For example, haircuts or birthday parties can be extremely unpleasant. Carly Fleischmann, a woman with autism, wrote a book about her experiences and a team of talented disability rights allies helped her produce this video, demonstrating her experience within a coffee shop.
Of the roughly 50,000 young Americans with autism who graduate from high school each year, less than 7,000 end up with a college degree (Wei et al 2015). This discouraging statistic has given rise to countless transition programs that we hope will allow more students to enroll in appropriate postsecondary programs, benefit from their time on campus, and enter rewarding careers. A series of steps from transition meetings to college admissions, outlined below, function as a roadmap for teens and parents who have set their sights on higher education.