Many parents of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder look forward to September when they can get back in to some sense of ‘routine.’
Finding adequate supports over the summer is a common challenge. Keeping children with ASD ‘productively’ busy can be a real struggle for families. September is a time for new beginnings which often includes: new teachers, new classrooms, new peers, new educational assistants and often new schools. This may even be a time for new rules, new expectations and new challenges. Despite the transition, most parents welcome the support of the school staff in engaging the child in new and innovative ways.
September is a time to enter into your child’s school with an open mind.
September is a time to set up new expectations with your child (particularly VISUAL rules) that may not have ‘gone over well’ last school year.
September is a time to facilitate that little bit of growth and independence in your child (for example: teaching your child how to participate in making his or her lunch for school).
September is a time to let go of last school year’s frustrations, annoyances, tears, irritations and fears and start with a fresh perspective.
September is a time to build relationships with those who support your child.
September is a time for parents to have some time to enjoy an uninterrupted cup of hot coffee or tea.
September is a time to be proactive and contact your child’s school to set up a meeting and get the year rolling in a positive way.
We all know that September brings with it a new set of parenting challenges because it is yet another transition from ‘free-time’ to ‘work-time.’ Understand that ‘newness’ is anxiety-provoking for your child and using transition objects (a favorite toy or snack) may be helpful to facilitate your child’s steps out of the house.
Encourage your child to share something special from the summer months with his or her peers, in whatever way he or she is comfortable.
Be kind to yourself, breathe deeply and try to be patient in September while the schools sort out how they can best achieve goals collaboratively.
Congratulations on making it through another summer! Best wishes for this school year!