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Helping Students with Autism Transition Into a New School Year

close up boyStudents on the autism spectrum often find transitioning to new situations challenging. Parents and teachers can minimize the stress with some joint prep before school starts.

Elizabeth W. Barnes, an author, blogger, and a parent of a child on the autism spectrum, shares tips on coordinating with her son’s school and his teacher before the start of each school year to achieve a smoother transition.

Barnes writes that “as an elementary student, [her son] struggled with transitioning into a new class at the beginning of each school year. It could take him weeks to get used to a new classroom and curriculum, and sometimes months to develop a trusting relationship with his new teacher.

Over time we discovered some tactics to make the change easier for him, helping him develop a relationship with his new teacher more quickly and transition into a new classroom and curriculum more smoothly.”

Among the techniques that Barnes found successful:

  • Taking her son to visit his new classroom prior to the end of the previous year.  If that is not possible, scheduling a visit several days before the beginning of the new school year.
  • Introducing her son to his new teacher before the end of the previous year so that he had the summer to get used to him or her.
  • Reviewing the physical classroom setup and the daily schedule in order to anticipate and discuss any concerns or potential stressors.
  • Requesting a meeting early in the new year with the new teacher to go over her son’s individualized education program (IEP) accommodations.

Excerpted from “Helping Students with Autism Transition Into a New School Year.” Read the full article on Edutopia.

Source: Edutopia | Helping Students With Autism Transition Into a New School Year, https://www.edutopia.org/article/helping-students-autism-transition-new-school-year-elizabeth-barnes | ©2018 George Lucas Educational Foundation

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