Back to school tips to help autistic kids -- Sundaee Sprouts Blog Post
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7 Essential Back-to-School Tips to Help Autistic Kids

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Back to school tips to help autistic kids -- Sundaee Sprouts Blog Post

Back to school time is just around the corner. I don’t know where summer went since it feels like all it’s done is storm since H got out of school.

It’s already time for me to start thinking about what I need to do to get H ready to go back to school.

It has me thinking about what is essential in the next month to get him back to school ready so the first week and the whole year goes smoothly.

I figured there are parents in my exact position and wondering what the essential back-to-school tips are to help autistic kids get ready for the first day of school.

That’s why I thought up the 7 Essential Back-to-School Tips to Help Autistic Kids. You’ll know what to do now and throughout the school year to keep you and your child school ready.

7 Essential Back-to-School Tips to Help Autistic Kids

#1 Create and Establish a Familiar Routine

Routine back to school tip for autistic kids

It’s essential to create a familiar routine and start to get used to it before school starts.

Waking up at a certain time and getting ready can be a hard adjustment if your child isn’t already on a set routine.

If it’s their very first time going to school, then I’d start a month before waking them up earlier and practicing getting ready. It’s best to ease into the new schedule so it’s not so overwhelming.

My son H is used to going back to school, so we start two weeks before waking up earlier from our summer sleep in schedule.

It still takes him a bit to get adjusted and happy with his routine, so just remember to be patient and your kiddo will eventually get used to it too.

Daily visual checklist to keep track of tasks for kids

I have a Free Visual Checklist Schedule for you to check out and help your sprout get started on a new routine!

#2 Use Visual Aides for Home and School

Visual Aides back to school tip for autistic kids - sundaee sprouts

Visual Aides for home and school can be a schedule, but also communication cards, a communication app, or their AAC.

It’s helpful to have home and school themed ones like my Printable Daily Routine Chart with Visual PECs.

It helps them see what is expected at home before and after school plus the routine to get to school.

As long as your child is able to see what they will be doing and you can verbalize it, then whatever you come up with should work.

There are also Feelings and Commands Communication Cards that are essential for back to school as well!

This way you can communicate with visuals about commands (stop, wait, listen) and your child can express their feelings with the cards.

#3 Communicate with Teachers and Staff

Back to School Tips to Help Autistic Kids - sundaee sprouts

Talk with the teachers and staff about your child when it’s time to go back to school.

What are your thoughts and fears? What is planned for the school year? Tell them about the good and things to watch out for about your kiddo.

Things I would say about H would be: “H is nonverbal and autistic, but he communicates with pointing, bringing you want he wants, or bringing you to what he wants. He’s a chewer, and he will chew on anything. He stomps when he’s unhappy, but he’s a huge cuddler. Be aware that he uses cuddles to get out of working though.”

And this is all things I’ve said to his teacher, therapists, and staff so they are aware of my loving but sneaky chewer.

If you’re shy about communicating, then write a letter to the teacher to send on the first day.

I actually made an All About Me page that’s editable in Canva to add a picture of you child, print out, fill out, and send to school. It helps put your mind at ease that you’re able to tell the important parts about your child.

#4 Use Social Stories

Social Stories tips for Back to school tip for autistic kids - sundaee sprouts

Social stories are visual stories that help your child see what to expect. It opens up the communication between the two of you as you read the story and your kiddo looks at the pictures.

Talk to you child about the social story. There are back to school social stories out there and ones for the first day of school. These are both helpful to prepare your kiddo for what’s to come.

And don’t be discouraged if the first day of school is still a shock because H has been in school since he was 3 and he’s still thrown off the first day and sometimes the first few weeks.

But it’s not as bad with visual cues and social stories because he gets used to seeing them year after year. So even if he’s put off some and has to adjust, it’s still a ton better than before.

Three Places to Find Back to School Social Stories

#5 Find Ways to Support Sensory Needs

Sensory toys for back to school tips for autistic kids - sundaee sprouts

You know your child best at the end of the day. What does your child need at home that you need to send to school?

Does your kiddo need earphones to block out noise or chewy sensory toys, so they don’t chew up the classroom? Do they have a favorite item they have to have with them? There’s a kid in my son’s class that carries a giant calculator with him all day.

And check out the sensory room if you school has one. Does it have what your child needs to decompress and calm down? Usually the answer is yes, but don’t be shy about giving suggestions or donating something if you child needs it.

My Son H’s Approved Sensory Toys

#6 Make Friends with Parents

Making friends with parents back to school tip for autistic kids - sundaee sprouts

Open house is a good day to meet other parents in the classroom. They can be your biggest support and understand what you’re going through.

Plus, their child will probably be with your child for years to come if they’re all in the autistic class like my H.

I’m a hermit and not super social, but I enjoy standing at the school and talking about our kiddos when we’re waiting for them to walk out at pick up time.

It’s a like segway into play dates and making friends that understand you and your child. Don’t underestimate the support you all can be to each other.

#7 Advocate, Advocate, Advocate!

Advocate for autistic kids back to school tips -- sundaee sprouts

I’ve been lucky that my son H has been at good schools and he has the best teachers and therapists now. But you may need to advocate harder for your child if you’re at a school that isn’t giving your child what they need.

IEPs are important to say what you know your child needs. If you think they need more time in speech or OT, then say it. Do they need a weighted vest or AAC, then advocate for it. Don’t take no for an answer.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification on what’s in the IEP. It can be easy to get overwhelmed in the moment, so I go home and look it over, take notes, then ask his teacher later.

Go over the IEP and everything your child needs before it’s time for back to school to help your autistic kid make sure they are covered in all areas. Make sure to follow up with the teacher and therapists to see what your child is working on and how their progress is going.

Push, be a pest, call and email until they’re so tired of you that they just give in. The school system is slow, but don’t stop until you see the result you want.

Conclusion

Just be proactive like I’m sure you always in and stay involved in your child’s daily school life.

Remember to rely on visual aides, routines, and your child’s teacher to help you child ease back to school and have a great school year.

What are some things you do to make sure your child is ready to go back to school? I’d love to know in the comments or email me at hello@sundaeesproutscreations.com 🙂

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