Parents of children with autism are sometimes faced with difficult decisions, and one of those decisions is determining when their child is ready for preschool. While preschool is a laid back environment that is generally less stressful than kindergarten and beyond, it can be a very different situation for a child who relies heavily on their surroundings for a sense of security. There are considerations parents have to make before putting their child in preschool and things that have to be done to prepare their child to go to preschool when the time comes.
What Type Of Preschool?
The type of preschool your child is best suited for depends on their social and emotional level of development. How does your child react to new situations? How are they with meeting new people? There are many different types of preschool programs. There are all-day programs, and there are those that only last for a couple of hours a day and help to ease you child into the idea of going to school. It is important that you understand your child’s needs and choose the right program.
Familiarize Your Child With The School
Toddlers react differently to new situations than older children. Toddlers react very well to constant positive reinforcement that helps them to feel comfortable in a new situation. Spend time with your child looking over the school’s website and let your child look at the school’s logo and pictures of the school as much as they want. Many preschools have pictures of staff members with smiling faces. Let your child look those pictures over and when school starts, they will be able to associate the faces they see with the pictures.
Get On A Schedule As Soon As Possible
A child with autism responds positively to a routine and a schedule they can rely on. It is important to get your child on a school related schedule as soon as possible. When you put your child to bed at night, go through all of the good things that happened that day and the good things your child expects to happen the next day. Once your child has a schedule to embrace, many parts of going to preschool become much easier.
Be Gentle With Pressure Situations
The preschool age is when children usually start getting preparing for potty training. In some cases, the idea of potty training, especially in a new place like a preschool, can add a lot of stress to your child’s day. It is a good idea for you and the school to relax on potty training at first and just ease your child into it gradually. Once the school becomes more familiar to your child, big steps like potty training can become a bit easier to take.
Preschool is a big step in life for a toddler. It is usually their first exposure to a consistent social environment and their first time being in a learning situation. The key is to take everything gradually, know what your child is capable of, and be supportive through the whole process.
Eden II Programs helps the autism community by providing programs and services combined with lifespan support to improve the quality of life for individuals with ASD and their families. Eden II has the greatest ability to help individuals with ASD reach their highest potential for independent, self-sustained living through high-quality ABA services, educational programs, adult day programs, group residential care, family support, respite, and a number of other services. Eden II Programs uses the evidence-based practices of ABA to develop skills, promote independence, and change lives for the better.
For information on programs and services available at Eden II, please visit us online at eden2.org or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.