When my kids started school, I realized that I had to do something to keep them challenged. I started focusing on talking with my kids each and every day to see what they learned and how I could help, and it really started to make a difference. We focused on finding programs that were interesting and challenging for our children, and it helped them to blossom when they were in school. Within a few short months, we could see a serious difference in our kids, just because we had guided them towards the right coursework. Check out this blog for more information.
Starting preschool is an exciting time for many children, but for a child on the autism spectrum it can also be a source of stress. Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to help your child transition to preschool successfully. Although there may be difficult days, with proper planning and working with the school you can help ensure that your child grows and enjoys most of their time at preschool. The following tips can help.
Tip #1: Start slow
A full-time preschool program may not be the best choice for your child. There are a couple of options that often work much better. For a child that tends to have more meltdowns as the day progresses, consider looking into a half-day program. This way they will be at preschool in the morning when they are well rested and more alert. Another option is to look for two or three day programs instead of full weekly programs. This works well if you are worried that attending preschool daily would be overwhelming for your child.
Tip #2: Look for strict routines
Every preschool is different so make sure you are well aware of the regular daily routine at the school you choose. Children on the spectrum tend to thrive under strict routines that seldom vary, so select a preschool that adheres to a daily routine that does not change or vary throughout the day. It's also a good idea to make sure that there are not rotating teachers in the room, since something as small as a different teacher on different days could be a source of stress for your child.
Tip #3: Ask about transition activities
Transition times can be especially hard for an autistic child. Ask if there are regular transition activities used in the classroom. This can be as simple as a schedule board that features pictures for each activity, which the teacher then makes a show of changing out as the day progresses. Other teachers may use songs or rhymes to indicate the transition time. The key is to find a preschool teacher that regularly uses transition activities and that is consistent in the activity they choose.
Tip #4: Request a quiet space
Talk to the preschool about expectations for overwhelmed children or those in the midst of a meltdown. Having a safe space for your child to sit out from activities and calm down is very important. This space should be supervised and safe for the child, which means soft furnishings and nothing they could accidentally injure themselves with. Access to this space needs to be available at all times so your child can choose to voluntarily sit out when needed.
For more help in finding the perfect setting for your child, contact preschools in your area.