Helping autistic children ease into school schedules

KIMT News 3 – It’s back to school for many families in our area and it can be both an exciting and stressful time. However, there’s an added challenge for those parents with autistic children.

Those daily routines established over the last 2-3 months are changing, and now students have to get used to their school schedules all over again.

Christina Maulsby, the Project Director for the Opportunity Village Children’s Autism Center said one of the best things parents and students can do, is go to the school ahead of time, and even take a picture of the teacher.

Parents can then post that picture somewhere in the house and remind their child repeatedly who that person is, so they get used to seeing them. Christina suggested making a “top ten” list of things teachers, aides, and even administrators should know about your child.

It may also help to go into the classroom and talk to your child’s classmates.

Maulsby said, “See if you can go in and talk to your child’s peers, because a lot of the time, the peers want to be friends with this child with autism that they don’t know well. They may wonder why is he flapping his arms or why is she covering her ears like she doesn’t want to talk to me? Go in and see if you can spend a half hour just to help your peers understand what autism is . We’ve got a lot of great books on autism out there. Maybe you could go in and read a story to them.”

Christina also said one thing many parents tend to overlook are new clothes. They may be itchy or uncomfortable for your child, so be sure to wash them before the first day and cut out any tags.

Also break in any new shoes, so they won’t cause blisters.

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