Advice About School If Your Child Is Autistic

Advice About School If Your Child Is Autistic
26 Oct 2021

Image by Nathan Legakis from Pixabay

Starting school is a big transition in the life of every child and a challenging experience for the entire family. Every parent hopes that their child will be just fine and that things will go smoothly on their first day. But like any other milestone, reaching this one can also fill parents with feelings of anxiety. This is especially true for parents of autistic children looking for appropriate education for their little ones.

To help alleviate some of your concerns, here are a couple of useful pieces of advice about school if your child is autistic. They should help you choose and provide the right educational environment for your child to thrive in and ensure success.

Selecting the right school for your child

Choosing which school to send your little one to is the biggest and most important decision you’ll have to make as a parent of an autistic child. This can be difficult because many parents are unsure if they should choose a mainstream school or a special school. Depending on where they live, some parents may also have a limited number of options.

Ideally, the school you select will be able to cater to your child’s individual needs. Some of the factors that will play a vital role in the decision-making process include environment, learning opportunities, peer groups, transport to and from school, as well as the experience and understanding of teachers and support staff.

Weighing the options

While public schools and home education are viable options for students with autism, most parents opt for either a mainstream or a special school. Some schools may also offer programs that are developed specifically for autistic children. Sometimes, a mainstream school will be a suitable option for autistic children. If they need extra support, they can get it provided that they have an EHC (Education, Health, and Care) plan. Some students will have these plans before starting schools, while others may need to apply for an EHC assessment.

Other times, mainstream schools won’t be able to meet an autistic child’s individual needs. In that case, parents will need to find a school for autism children and get a place there. Providing your child with an education environment created specifically for them means they’ll receive an education that’s in line with their individual needs. They’ll also benefit from low student-to-teacher ratios and genuine benchmarks set for them to work towards.

Preparing an autistic child for school

Once you’ve decided on the best school to send your little one to, it’s time to focus on school preparations. Because starting school is a major change for a child, it’s best that you take a gradual approach. Start by visiting the school both during and out of hours. This will give them an idea of what they can expect and what their new daily routine will be like. After that, move on to visiting classrooms, practicing school routines at home, and developing a school morning routine.

The idea is to give your child enough time to get used to the idea of going to school. Some autistic children can find the transition to school very hard. By taking steps to prepare your little one for school, you’ll help them cope with these anxious times more effectively.

Starting school

The first few weeks at school are confusing, tiring, and sometimes even stress-inducing. Your little one is going through a lot, and this major change may cause some changes in behavior. They may throw tantrums, engage in repetitive behaviors, and become more rigid and restricted. To make those first couple of weeks easier for them, avoid making things more overwhelming than they are. Don’t ask too many questions when they arrive home, and give them more time to process everything.

To make their days at school a bit easier, talk to the teacher about giving your little one short breaks. Email the teacher regularly so you can easily resolve any problems should they arise. Finally, provide them with a safe space for when things get overwhelming, and arrange for a buddy they can rely on for support when at school.

Wrapping up

Every parent knows their child best. As such, they’re the ones that should be able to make the decision that’s in their child’s best interest. But if you’ve already weighed the pros and cons of each option and still can’t make up your mind, consider consulting with other professionals who’ve worked with your child before and are familiar with their needs.

This can be anyone from occupational therapists to educational psychologists. They can give valuable insights and help you identify the place that will not only help your child be secure and happy but that will also encourage them to reach their fullest potential.

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Carrie Davis

Carrie is a mom of two incredible kids and lifestyle writer in her free time. She writes mostly on beauty and lifestyle-related topics, mainly through blogs and articles.

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