Succeeding in school can be a complex endeavor for children diagnosed with Autism spectrum disorders. It comes with challenges and roadblocks that are unique to every child and these barriers require solutions as unique as your child. It is important to define what success looks like for your child. In outlining your child’s version of success, you may find that this too, is very individualized. It is important that you have a realistic expectation of success clearly defined so that you and those who are a part of your child’s team can work towards the same goals!
Communication is one of the biggest components to ensuring success for your child in school and beyond. This starts with you, the caregiver. It is important you present your thoughts and knowledge to teachers, therapists, case managers, and whoever else is a part of the team. No one knows your child as well as you do and that expertise shouldn’t be discounted. It is also important to be receptive to suggestions from the professionals working for the betterment of your son or daughter. Allowing open communication between team members is critical too. Allowing these professionals to collaborate with each other can lead to consistency in approach across varying environments and people. This produces a “normalcy” to the child and creates a constant atmosphere with set expectations no matter if they’re at home, school, therapy, the grocery store, or anywhere else.
Staying on top of your child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is of critical importance. Attend these meetings and bring team members who may not be otherwise invited to attend, like a speech and language pathologist or behavior analyst not provided through the school. These team members can help you digest all of the information you receive during the IEP and also help you advocate for your child. These meetings are the perfect time to make sure everyone on the team is working together and has a plan for collaboration going forward!
On a daily level, you can create and keep routines for your child. Many children diagnosed with Autism can be routine oriented. Having a set time for meals, hygiene, school work, and sleeping can help your child plan understand what is happening next and better plan for those things. If sitting down to do school work or meals, taking a bath, or going to bed are daily struggles, setting routines can help. If you need additional support with school readiness, making progress on IEP goals, or if you need help defining what your child’s success will look like and a plan to achieve it, reach out to BCOTB and ask about our School Readiness Program and School Success Program!