Tips for Preparing Autistic Children for Primary School

Aug 20, 2014 by

Everyone stresses when it comes to making a change, but autistic children struggle with it more than most. For these children, stability and a firm schedule are the foundation that helps them maintain a sense of calm. As a parent, there are a few things you can do to make this transition easier on your autistic child.

Change the Schedule in Phases

Your child may need to get out of bed earlier for school then he or she would otherwise. Instead of making this change in one leap, try waking him or her up a few minutes earlier each day. The change won’t be quite so noticeable if you do it in small steps.

Coincide with the School Schedule

Primary schools tend to function on somewhat rigid schedules. That means a dunny break happens at a certain time instead of at random intervals. Younger children tend to enjoy a bit more flexibility with this particular issue, but meals and subject changes have to work within a set schedule to accommodate other classes. Find out what the school schedule is and try to align yours with it. Take into account some of the details below.

  • Sitting down at a table or desk to start the day

  • Putting things away at certain times

  • Getting out new materials at certain times

  • Changing subjects on a schedule

  • Keeping supplies in one place for more timely access

  • Eating lunch and breakfast on a schedule

  • Taking scheduled breaks

One issue that may be particularly difficult for your child to get used to is going outside at specific times. If your child has a fear of bugs or does not like to be outside, you may need to discuss other options with the teacher or try to get your child used to being outside on a regular basis.

Your child may learn at the same rate as other children, but getting used to a new schedule, as well as a new place to be during the day, may be difficult. Most professionals in primary schools, like Catholic Education Services, are aware of this problem and will most likely work with you to resolve it. Before you make any changes, it may be a good idea to speak with your child’s future teacher to learn about adaptive devices and other resources the school may have available. You can also discuss the schedule and how any problem areas might be handled or details that need to be managed.

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