The return to school is upon us and with more challenges than ever, especially for the autism community. Transitioning back to school is already a challenge and change in routine from summer activities and schedules can be daunting. Adding in the possibility of new teachers, classmates, paraprofessionals, and therapists can complicate this transition even more.
The threat of the delta variant has made the return to school frightening and confusing for caregivers whose children are too young to be vaccinated and remote options/masking guidelines vary from place to place.
Attempting to navigate this stressful time can be difficult but manageable. Practicing mask-wearing and working on those goals within the classroom, sensory breaks, and a lot of communication are key.
I found this checklist from Angelsense to be extremely thorough and helpful for caregivers preparing their autistic children for the return to school. From creating social stories to tips on how to communicate your child’s needs, it’s very comprehensive.
“The biggest concern I have at the start of school is my child’s anxiety. We all want our kids to feel safe and happy. I want to make sure his needs are being met and he’s enjoying himself. I want him excited to go to school every day. My go-to preparation is allowing my child to be part of the process of picking out and gathering school supplies. I drive to school in advance and talk about the routine and schedule. We create videos for him to watch before the first day. I also like to use fun reward gifts to get him excited for pick-up. It’s always nice to have something to look forward to” -Maria, Milwaukee, WI
Although the return to school can be stressful it’s also an exciting time. We see our children learn, thrive and the return also gives caregivers time to ourselves for some much-needed self-care.
Rootines’ role in back to school
Now is a great time to check in with Rootines and look at what you’re tracking and who is inputting information. It’s also a great time to speak with your child’s care team since teachers or paraprofessionals may have changed. By sharing your child’s profile with these other caregivers, information from the day can be entered real-time. This way, if there are behavioral changes from the transition you may be able to identify whether or not specific issues are triggering certain behaviors – both positive and negative.
Are you using Rootines to self-monitor? We are always looking for feedback on the application – what is working and importantly, what is not working. What features need to be added and even what may not be needed. While we are always looking for feedback from everyone, we are currently actively seeking users who are self-monitoring to share their thoughts. Please reach out at our website www.rootines.app or through the app!