My son started a whole new school this year, in kindergarten! It has been quite interesting. I have all the emotions and thoughts. I am totally happy that he loves it and enjoys it.
He goes to a private school here in Akron Ohio, that focuses on his IEP and growth. I never thought that he was ready for this day, simply because he was so behind. I also was not ready because my baby is all grown up; time flies by!
However, he has been getting therapy for years now that it all caught up and he was really ready. I am so thankful and blessed for where he is developmentally, socially, and physically. It has been a long journey.
Here are some tips for an effective school year with an autistic child:
- I am so impressed with him, the school, and the teachers. It is important to keep communication between all of us. We get daily behavior reports, school updates, and updates at pick-up. I love that there is also an app where they can add images, and we can send personal messages too. I like that I can ask Antonio questions such as do you have homework? He knows and responds; it feels like we finally are having conversations! I love it, it makes me so proud of how far he has come.
- I work with Antonio at home but make it fun. Regardless of whether he has homework or not, we work together on something. He watches his iPad and learns a lot from it, so when they say a certain word, I ask him to spell it or say it. A lot of times, I will be silly to help him have fun and learn. It is so cute how he reacts and really loves to learn.
- Make sure to allow time to play. Children need time to unwind. Whatever they like to do after school, allow them to do it and have fun. It is the same thing that we as adults do after work or when the kids go to bed; we all need personal time.
- Do homework right after dinner. I have found that Antonio is most productive at this time. After dinner time, we allow playtime and then relaxation, bath time, and pj’s. He gets tired and doesn’t do well after around 6 P.M. Find the time that fits your child’s needs.
- Allow packing lunch. I always pack his lunch, or at least most of it, the day before. The morning of I adds the sandwich.
- Encourage independence by having the child get dressed in mornings, etc. I always encourage Antonio to ask for help if something is too hard or he is too tired. For the most part he is incredibly independent and will try to do all things himself and then ask for help when appropriate.
- Prep them for the day (if there is a test, or hard day coming up). I always like to talk with my son about what is coming up for the day or week, especially if it might be something that is hard. I usually know a head of time, so I can be effective with that.
- Allow prizes. This is one of the biggest things that I do, and we both love. Nothing is better than a cookie!! He loves cookies so I can always encourage him to do well for a cookie, or a favorite toy.
- Have a set scheduled. This is truly one of the biggest things that we both need. I need a set schedule and he does too; when it is off for either one of us, it is not a good mix or feeling.
- Ask an encourage how the day went. This one is our current work in progress. I like to ask how his day went, but usually it is just a yes or no question. “Did you have a good day?” I am trying to get more out of it now by asking what he did and try to get more communication.
I am so proud of all the accomplishment he has made in just a short amount time. It is truly amazing that I have been able to get him into the right programs over the years to help him blossom and grow.
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