With an autism child, transitioning for back to school can be a process. With my son, the affect of transitioning between summer vacation and going back to school, show’s up with his sleeping habits. When my son is anxious about something, or extremely excited, he has trouble sleeping. We all know that when your child is having trouble sleeping, so are you. My son loves going to his special needs school. He loves the staff and students, as well as the structure in the classroom. We have about three weeks before school starts back up. Between now and then, I will be trying to get him used to the idea of going back to school.
I will be talking to him about it, and marking it on the calendar. We will go over how many days until the first day of school. By doing this, I am hoping that the closer we get to the first day of school, the less of an affect it will have on his sleeping. Of course, from 14 years of raising my autism son, I know that I can expect the night before to be a tough one for me. He’ll go to bed at the correct time, but will wake up in the middle of the night. When he wakes up in the middle of the night, he could be up for hours before falling back to sleep. By the time morning comes, and I have to wake him up, we will struggle. He will be tired, and not want to get out of bed. However, once I get him up, he will quickly get himself ready for school and want to head out to the bus stop.
Autism children that have trouble with transitioning could face many problems when it’s time to go back to school. They could be anxious to the point that it causes them to have extreme behavior issues. They could also regress in areas that they have been excelling in. For an autistic child that has trouble transitioning, I recommend that you start to prepare now. Have a calendar that you can mark off the days until the first day of school. Plan visits to the school. Explain to your child that he has x amount of days before school starts back up. You can even make a social story book for your child. If you can find out who will be your child’s teacher, and get a picture, you can place that picture in the book. Also, it would help if you can get a picture of his school and classroom to use in your social story book.
Once you have your book completed, you can sit with your child and read it each day. Let your child know what to expect on the first day of school. The more prepared your autism child is, the less scary it will be for your child. If you have any suggestions on how to help other parents that are expecting to have trouble transitioning their autism child for back to school, pleas share. Let us know what you have done in the past that has helped, and what you are planning to do this year.