Overcoming Challenges in the New School Year

Child Working on Homework in the New School Year

You and your child have survived your first weeks back to school. While many say that the transition period is the hardest part, it is important to be prepared for any challenges that may lie ahead. Here are a few tips on what challenges may arise and how to overcome them.

Update visual schedules. We mentioned creating visual schedules in a prior blog post; however, it is important to update these schedules as the school year progresses so that your child always knows what to expect. If the schedule or routine is going to change, try to give your child plenty of warning so that they can adjust.

Create a personal portfolio. These are especially helpful for children who have a harder time introducing themselves to others. Children can specify via their portfolio their unique needs and interests. Parents can make these fun and creative! Photos, artwork, and lists can be included in the child’s portfolio. A portfolio may include pictures of the child’s family, a list of the child’s favorite animals, the child’s favorite subject area, and a pamphlet about autism.

Stick to the routine. Many children on the autism spectrum benefit from keeping a routine. Create a routine that incorporates when dinner is to be eaten, when homework is to be completed, when it is time to go to bed, etc. Compliance with completing homework may be less of a battle when the expectations for completing homework are established (e.g. homework is to be completed after dinner).

Create a homework area. We know homework isn’t fun, but creating a distinct, distraction-free space can help with the transition from summer vacation to having to complete homework again. The seating should be comfortable and the lighting should be soft.

Keep an open line of communication with your child’s teachers. Some choose to keep a journal where the teacher can write the highs and lows of the child’s day, what homework needs to be completed, or what materials the child needs. Parents can also write notes to the teacher, including how the child slept the night before, medicine changes, or any questions the parent may have for the teacher. Other ways to communicate include meeting once a week or speaking via telephone. Find what works for both you and your child’s teachers.

If your child is receiving behavior services, communicate with the Behavior Analyst. Let your child’s Behavior Analyst know how school is going and what problems may have surfaced. In some cases, a behavior analyst can come to the school to observe the child and give parents and teachers tips or create behavior plans that can be implemented by the teacher, teaching aids, and/or parents.

It is impossible to know every challenge that may arise during the school year, but being prepared and keeping an open line of communication can help extinguish these challenges should they make an appearance. Happy School Season!

Kassie Deoreo
RBT & Supervision Student, Terre Haute

If your child isn’t currently a patient at the Applied Behavior Center for Autism and you’re interested in finding out more information, contact us today at 317-849-5437 or go to www.appliedbehaviorcenter.org/get-started/.