Returning to school adhering to a ‘new normal’ is going to be very difficult for many children around the world. Like yourself, they’ve heard how bad the pandemic is and how badly it’s affected the entire planet. Having a child with Autism is a whole new situation. As you know, with an Autistic child you must go through each day on a routine, with constant reassurance, calming techniques, and all of your time and energy to make sure they’re happy and safe. Now that the new academic year is creeping up, it’s time to look at how you can prepare your Autistic child for returning to their education setting.
Practice proper hygiene and social distancing techniques
We’ve all had to knuckle down on our personal hygiene and social distancing since COVID-19 became a pandemic, and you should practice this regularly with your child. Whether they attend a public school or a specialist school, they will need to adhere to social distancing guidelines within their classrooms. Show them how to wash their hands, introduce them to wearing a facemask, and clue them up on how they should be acting. Creating hypothetical scenarios in your home will help your child understand ready for school to begin.
Speak to your Doctor about any help they can provide
Anxiety is the worst, and Autistic people suffer greatly with it. Your child may be feeling extremely apprehensive about going back to school – and that’s completely normal! Your doctor may be able to provide some light on this, or even prescribe some medication that will help keep your child as calm as possible, especially in the first few weeks whilst they’re getting used to everything. Alternatively, you could look at an online dispensary to help your child relax as much as possible.
Find out the routine they should expect upon returning
A great way of helping your child prepare for their looming return to school is by finding out what measures the school is putting in place for the children. In many cases, schools are moving the children around in their “class bubbles”, meaning they’ll be taught in one classroom, with the same children, and with reduced contact with equipment that could spread the virus. Once you know this, you’ll be able to reinforce the idea with your child so they know exactly what to expect.
Gently reintroduce the idea of school
Finally, you know better than anyone how your child reacts to changes in their lives. A sudden reintroduction of school could really upset them. Letting them know now that school is just around the corner will help them readjust to the thought of it.
It’s not only your child you should reintroduce the idea to either – it’s you! After months of having your child with you – especially during these strange times – you may find it difficult too! Prepare yourself for your child going back to school and needing you to welcome them home to hear all about their day.
*this is a collaborative post