Summer is two and a half months of freedom and the opportunity to explore new things. For a child with autism, summer is the opportunity to get involved in new social settings and have some private time for themselves. The settings during summer do not have to change, so the routines can get deeply ingrained into a child, even after only two and a half months. When it is time to go back to school, breaking those summer routines can be extremely difficult. But they are certainly not impossible.
Start Gradually But Early
Breaking the summer routine should probably start in the second half of August. It can begin with making sure your child is awake at the school hour every weekday morning, and that they get into the morning routine of breakfast, getting ready, and then heading out. You can even take your child to the school’s playground to get them used to where they will be going.
Have Pictures Of School Around The House
You can print pictures of the school off the school’s website or take pictures of the school yourself and show them to your child each morning. When your child asks why you are showing them pictures of school, you can start to explain that it is almost time to go back to school. This can help create that buffer of time you will need to make the transition and it will prevent the transition from seeming like it is happening suddenly.
Start Schooling At Home
There are hundreds of educational programs you can add to your child’s computer tablet or the computer at home that you can start doing with your child in anticipation of summer coming to an end. Be sure to choose programs that are at your child’s grade level, and always insist that your child finish at least one lesson a day.
As School Time Gets Closer
As it gets closer to the end of summer, you should start talking like you would during the school year. Instead of planning trips to the zoo, you should start talking about making sure your child is in bed on time. When you do make fun plans, only make them for the weekends and emphasize that the weekend is the only time that is available for getaways now that school is starting. This will help your child to understand that summer is coming to an end and there is a time for play and a time for school.
Once you get to within a week or two of school, ask the school if you can take your child for tours of the school and meet faculty and staff members. This will give you a chance to let the faculty and staff know what they need to know to make your child’s transition back to school easier.
There is no magic wand to wave to make going back to school easier. After months of relative freedom, it is tough to explain to your child that the fun has to be tempered and now it is time to school. At the same time, if you tell your child that they will be learning a lot of new things, meeting a lot of wonderful new people, and having new experiences, then that can help to create a bit of anticipation for school that will allow the summer transition to be a bit easier.
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.