Learn the ABCs of School Success for Children with Autism
When a child with autism starts school for the first time, switches schools, or enters a new grade with new teachers and classmates, it’s a big change in their routine and can be full of unknowns.
It’s easy to get caught up in the emotions of it all, but if you do a little homework beforehand, you can stay focused on what matters most – giving your child every opportunity to be successful in school and achieve their full potential.
So let’s take a look at some of the things you can do to help your child adjust and thrive in school!
Strategies for School Success from the Behavior Exchange
1. First and foremost, work with an ABA therapist or BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst) to ensure your child is ready for school and has all the prerequisite skills they need. Here are a couple of essential, functional skills that your child will need to be successful in school.
- They’re able to be around peers.
- They can successfully leave their parent or caretaker.
- They can request what they need, such as “Help.”
- They’re toilet trained.
- They can follow one and two-step instructions.
- They can sit in a chair.
2. Let your child practice being away from you if they’re starting school for the first time. Participating in ABA therapy programs, like at The Behavior Exchange, is a great way to do this.
3. Have your child engage with other children by attending play dates, events at a public library, or visiting playgrounds. You could also enroll in B.E.E.S., our early-start program for preschoolers. It’s lots of fun and good practice interacting with peers.
4. Ask your child’s teacher for their contact information. It’s important to establish open lines of communication between you and the teacher.
5. Your ABA therapist can also collaborate with your child’s teacher. Ask the teacher for a Consent to Share form that you all can sign.
7. Drive by the school and prime your child by telling them, “You’re going to go to this school!” Make it fun and exciting!
9. Give your child time to practice tasks as independently as possible that are at their skill level.
10. Reinforce successful days at school! The goal is to make school and learning fun and exciting.
11. Make sure to tell your child’s teacher what reinforcers are effective for your child and supply them if necessary.
12. Make sure to have a system and routine at home for homework, such as “First, finish homework, then you can color.” You can also use a chart or visual schedule to help with this.
13. Try to keep a consistent morning routine to help your child know what the expectations are regarding getting ready for school.
14. Pack a fun treat or note in your child’s lunch box to offer encouragement for your child when starting at school.
15. Use a countdown calendar with fun visuals and stickers to let your child know when he or she will be starting school.
If you need help preparing your child for school or you have a school-aged child that needs to learn important social skills for making friends and other meaningful connections, contact us. With over 20 years of ABA therapy experience, we can help!
written by Kally Tejada, BCBA at The Behavior Exchange