Back to School [Tips for a Successful School Year with Autism]

The countdown to school in Texas is on! In another week, the sleep ins are over and the schedules are back. For lots of parents, particularly those who have a child with autism, the return of a scheduled day is welcome. However the transition of actually returning to school can be challenging and anxious for the children AND their parents.

Back to School Autism
I know that when Max starts school each year, I am always a little nervous about what the year might bring. Last year when he started middle school was EXTREMELY stressful….from my end! 

Back to School Photography

If your school is open to it, your child might benefit from a visit to the school BEFORE it is over run with children coming for meet the teacher. They might be able to meet THEIR teacher (or teachers) in a more quiet setting so it’s not such a sensory overload. Communiaction with teachers will be very important. Kids with autism in a public school will have an IEP and so all teachers should be fully informed BEFORE your child arrives but many teachers appreciate any tips parents might have to help make the transition to a new school year easier. Writing your own social story about the school day with your child can be a great way to prepare them for how each day should look.

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Try and start the school routine before the weekend before school if possible. Sleep is key and adjusting bedtimes and starting morning routines as early as possible may help their adjustment to the school year.

If you have concerns about your childs social interactions with their peers it might be really helpful to reach out to other kids for playdates BEFORE school starts if it is an option. Many schools also have great social skills groups they incorporate with other typical children during class time which is helpful as the school year continues.

For non-verbal children, lots of visual support is essential. Social stories are really helpful here along with pictures. If you can map out the day with photos (example, waiting for the bus, getting on the bus, walking to their classroom, finding their chair, sitting in the cafeteria opening their lunch box) hopefully that will make the transition back to school a little smoother.

Obviously as parents and caregivers we are all usually anxious about a new school year, try to stay positive in front of your kids so they don’t see your stress. It’s enough that they try to manage their own! Hopefully many of us have a great support network but if you don’t PLEASE reach out to us here, we would love to help!

Here’s to a great school year!

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Autism by the Numbers

The costs of behavioral intervention therapy for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder can reach up to $60,000 per child each year.

It is estimated that medical costs associated with caring for a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder are up to $20,000 higher annually than caring for a child without.

It is estimated that Autism costs the nation $137 billion per year, no doubt the rising ate of children diagnosed will increase this figure dramatically.

In 2010 the National Institute of Health (NIH) allocated just $218 million of it’s $35.6 billion dollar budget to Autism. This number represents less than 0.6% of total NIH funding.

More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than pediatric AIDS, juvenile diabetes and cancer combined.

Autism is the fastest growing developmental disorder in the United States yet the most underfunded.

Autism occurs in all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups.

While the cause of Autism is still unclear, current studies indicate genetics and exposure to environmental triggers both play a role in the autism prevalence increase.

Families with one child on the Autism Spectrum have an estimated 20% increased risk of having another child affected.

Between 30-5-% of people with Autism suffer from seizures.

It is estimated that up to 40% of children with Autism do not speak.

Boys are four times more likely to have autism than girls. More specifically that number is 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls.

In 2014 the Center for Disease Control determined that approximately 1 in 68 children is diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the United States. In 2000 this number was 1 in 250 children

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