The beginning of a new school year is an exciting yet anxious time for both parents and children. Prepare an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) with the school to prepare for your child to go back to school. Public schools are required to use an IEP for a child with autism or any other disability. It creates structured therapies and educational programs to ensure your child is educationally successful. These therapies and programs may include speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and behavioral therapy. It will also define if your child will be in inclusion classes or special education classes. IEP meetings can be held anytime throughout the school year. Bring goals to your child’s IEP meeting. You have a chance to offer suggestions that for your child to learn for the next school year.
Consider the following:
• Your child’s strengths.
• How would you like to enhance your child’s education?
• The results of recent evaluations.
• Do they have behavioral issues that may interfere with their learning experience?
• Does the child have limited language skills?
- Establish a bedtime and waking hours. Get your child used to a specific routine. Create a picture book of what the child’s day-to-day routine will look like.
- Prepare your child socially for school. Prepare conversation starter cards or make a social skills superhero comic book. Show how the child should properly express their feelings when they’re feeling happy, sad, excited, fearful, etc.
- Talk to your child about bullying. This important issue exists for all children, not just for children with disabilities. According to StopBullying.gov in 2012, 46% of children with autism in middle school or high school reported being victimized and 70% of children with autism that is mainstreamed, are bullied. Teach your child the motto to live by, “treat others you would like to be treated.” Notify the teacher immediately if you feel your child is being bullied.