Autism and Back to School
Across the nation we are officially back to school. Maybe a few aren’t, but most are. Going back to school means change in schedule and likely a few meltdowns and tantrums. I’m writing this today to touch base on a few reminders that may help you through the transition.
Remember what you learned last year and the year before that. If you’ve done this more than 3 or 4 times, you should be prepared for resistance. That won’t make it any more fun to deal with, but better prepared thinking than not. Consider techniques you used last year and use them again this year.
Don’t engage the tantrum: This is especially true with autistics. We can be a very argumentative bunch. Kids already have this angry debating skill. Do your best to stay cool and not react to the tantrum. State your expectations and then drop it. Apply consequences after you get what you want out of the situation and when everyone has calmed down.
Don’t apply consequences before going to school if it only further triggers your child into a fit. I have direct experience with this. The idea is getting your child to school, hopefully in a mood that won’t destroy their school day. Leave discussing their behavior and any consequences for when they get home. “Remember how you used all those swear words this morning? No video games tonight.” This way, you got them to school and gave consequences at a time where you have more time and control.
Remember to reward the behaviors you want. If your kid is handling transition better than last year, tell him! Be happy with what he does right and praise it. Give rewards. A good reward system is always important, even if it isn’t worth a hundred bucks. You don’t have to spend lavish funds to give rewards. The simple things can be very effective.
Give down time after school. Don’t expect your child to go straight to homework the second they walk through the door. He or she has spent the last 8 hours struggling to behave and jump through school hoops. A break after school is welcome and kind. Set up a routine. Offer half an hour of break time to do what ever they want (save anything they can’t do because of behavior) with the knowledge that it’s homework time after that. My son actually prefers to get right to it, but he always has the option of that after school break.
Hopefully, these tips help you handle the new transition that we all have to wade through. Age doesn’t seem to help, so we must be vigilant parents. Have tips you’d like to share? Post them in comments!
Do you or your kids love heroes? Add the Galaxy Zento page! Books and games for ages 8 and up are available. The work of GZ is dedicated to showing our autistic youth that you CAN DO even with a few struggles. Life get’s better so never give up. The GZ page is loaded with cool artwork and updates!
One thought on “Autism and Back to School”
I love the emphasis on celebrating progress! Moving forward, even if only a tiny bit, is a great thing. As an OT, I often see how slow progress can seem, but how it can add up over the years into big changes.