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Angela Conrad
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5 Tips to Prepare Your Autistic Child for the School Year

5 Tips to Prepare Your Autistic Child for the School Year

It is almost that time of the year where the kids are heading back to school. Back to school is so much more than just the simple thought of heading back to school. Children who have special needs often have a hard time adjusting to the new change, especially children with autism and anxiety challenges. My oldest son, Trenton, has severe autism and is solely in a year around ABA therapy. My other son, Andrew, has high functioning autism and making the change in his schedule and routine is going to be rough for him. Due to their autism, both of my boys love a schedule and routine. Our best days come from the day where we have a strict routine of therapy and/or school to follow. However, now, as Andrew is entering in pre-school and his routine is going to change, it may take some adjustments. With that said, I already have a few things put in place to get him prepared for his big first week of preschool and adjusting to our new schedule.

 1 | Introduce a Social Story

Social stories are wonderful for children on the spectrum and anyone who has anxiety and emotional problems. Social stories are short descriptions of a certain event. It prepares the child for what they are about to do. They are written and visual descriptions of the event. Children with autism often have a difficult time to be able to understand and/or visualize the event that their parent is preparing them for. Therefore, a social story is wonderful tool to prepare your child for what lies ahead of them real soon.

2 | Utilize a Calendar

Many children on the spectrum like to see a visual schedule. My son, Andrew, loves to look at a calendar and marks his days off after they happen. This helps him to prepare for the next day. We talk about what his days entails and what big events we have that month. If he can visually see what day he starts pre-school then he will be better prepared for his big first day.

3 | Get Familiar with the Classroom

If at all possible, take your child with autism into his classroom before he starts school to meet his teacher. If your child has met his/her teacher and has seen the classroom, they are more than likely to adjust to their first day better. If you have an older child with autism, take them to their school and walk the halls with them. Any opportunity that you can start getting your child back into their school environment will make for a much better transition to the start of school.

4 | Practice Makes Perfect

If your child will have a different morning routine come school time then it is best to get in the practice of their new morning schedule as soon as possible. Honestly, anything that you can do now until the time your child starts school will better prepare him/her and ease the anxiety and stress on them when the school starts.

5 | Get Social

Children on the spectrum have a hard time adjusting to school due to their social challenges. Sometimes, children are not in as many social situations during the summer time. Whatever you can do to get your child prepared and ready for social situations would be very beneficial for your child. Preparing your child for back to school is not easy for anyone. However, when there are special needs involved, it makes it more difficult. However, with the right amount of preparation, your child’s anxiety and stress can be eased. I hope each and every one of us has a smooth transition to the new school year!   Like this post? Pin it for later below: 5 Tips to Prepare Your Autistic Child for the School Year

WRITTEN ON August 05, 2016 BY:

Angela Conrad

Angela Conrad is a devoted mother of two boys on the autism spectrum. Angela was a special education teacher with years of experience with children with various special needs before she had her own two children with autism. She is a dedicated autism advocate, freelance writer, author, and celebrated speaker. Angela resides in Indiana with her two sons. She blogs regularly at and