Awareness of autism and the problems that is causes has risen in the past few years. The condition itself is a neural development disorder. The characteristics of autism are impaired social communication and interaction and by repetitive and restrictive behavior. Approximately one in 50 children is impacted by autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It impacts the way information is processes by the brain. This is because the nerve cells and their synapses have been altered so they organize and connect in a different way than in non-autistic people. The signs of autism are apparent before a child reaches the age of three. If your child has been diagnosed with autism, you might want to consider sending them to one of the autism schools. When it comes time to send them back, the process does not have to be painful.
Tips for Sending Your Autistic Child Back to School:
Go in and meet your child’s teachers.
Before the school year starts, make it a point to go into the school and meet with your child’s teachers. It is good to go in before the school year begins when the teachers may have more time to sit down and talk to you about their teaching style and the way your child learns best. You should give them as much information about your child so that they will know how to best nurture them and encourage them to learn. They should know your child’s level of communication and how they did the year before but also if there are problem areas in their behavior, this is the time to talk about it.
Some parents go as far as to prepare information packets on their children to give teacher everything they might want to know. These packets should be updated to reflect changes and advancements in the child’s learning and communication skills. This should have any information that you think would help your child’s teachers work with your child.
Get to know the school.
If this is a new school, go in and take a tour. Call the school before the school year begins and ask if you can come in and take a tour of the facility. Take your child with you. Sometimes getting familiar with a new environment will help get rid of some of the anxiety they are experiencing. Look at the classrooms, the cafeteria, the gym and then the outside. Walk through the play areas. Point out the areas you know your child may like more. Do the like the swings a lot? Spend some time there.
Do you know any of the other children who will be in your child’s class? If they have friends from the year before who will be in the same class, see if you can take then with you. Many schools for children with autism employ a buddy system of sorts. They take a student who is well established at the school and pair them up with a new student to help make that new student more comfortable. This can help them with their social interaction skills and help them learn more about making new friends, a skill all children can use.
Build a relationship with your child’s teachers.
Do not let the “get to know you” meeting be the only time you communicate with your child’s teachers. You should have regular communications with them. Under the best of circumstances, children may not say much about their day. For autistic children it is practically impossible to describe their day at school. This is just another reason to have a good relationship with your child’s teacher. They can give you progress reports on how your child is doing on a day to day basis. Many schools understand the situation so the teachers can be more attuned to your child’s needs and your need to know what is going on. If you notice something out of the ordinary, by all means, call the teacher and talk about it.
Different schools have different policies but if you work with your child’s teachers, you can improve their chance for success and have them enjoy learning at their school.