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Supporting Every Kid on the Spectrum: Nine Tools and Strategies for Kids with Autism to Thrive in School

For parents of kids on the autism spectrum, one of the most significant areas of focus is ensuring their child's success in school. With the right tools and strategies, every child can reach their full potential!

Here are nine valuable resources to help your child with autism be their very best selves on their academic journey:

Visual Supports and Schedules

Visual aids play a crucial role in enhancing communication and comprehension for children with autism. Implementing visual schedules and supports can provide a clear structure, build independence, and help your child navigate the school day with confidence. Consider visual timetables, social stories, and visual cues to aid understanding and reduce anxiety. Lesson Pix is a great resource for visuals!

Sensory Breaks and Tools

Sensory processing challenges are common among children with autism. Equip your child with sensory tools such as fidget toys, noise-canceling headphones, or a sensory-friendly space where they can take breaks when needed.  In many classrooms, there is room for a sensory-friendly space; some have them included in their classroom layout already!  These tools can help manage sensory overload and improve focus in the classroom.

Know What’s in Your Child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP)

As a parent, you know your child the best!  Collaborate with your child's school to develop a customized Individualized Education Plan (IEP). This document outlines specific learning goals, support services, and accommodations tailored to your child's unique needs, ensuring a more inclusive and effective learning environment.  Your child’s IEP should reflect them and their educational needs. Let us know if you need help!

Social Skills Development

Social interactions can be challenging for children on the autism spectrum. Learn more about social skills training programs that focus on communication, cooperation, and friendship-building. These programs often use role-playing and interactive activities to enhance social understanding.  Is this available at your child’s school?

Assistive Technology for Learning

Leverage educational apps, software, and devices to support your child's learning style. There are numerous apps designed specifically for children with autism that focus on language development, academic skills, and social communication. Consult with an educational coach, your child’s teacher,  and therapists to identify the most suitable options for your child.  There are so many options!

An Inclusive Mindset

Having an inclusive mindset is shown through a respect for all people, an understanding that all people have differences, a wondering about alternate learning styles, cultural competence, and kindness.  Your child deserves to be included in learning so they’re getting the richest, best quality education possible!  

Classroom Peer Supports

Foster positive relationships by encouraging peer support within the school community. Peer supports or a peer mentorship program can provide your child with a supportive network of friends who understand and embrace neurodiversity.  Peer supports can be also included in your child’s IEP!

Regular Communication with Teachers

Maintain open lines of communication with your child's teachers and school staff. Regularly discuss your child's progress, challenges, and successes. This partnership ensures that everyone is on the same page and allows for timely adjustments to support strategies.  Don’t forget, you and your child’s teacher are “on the same page”:  wanting the best for your child!

Advocacy and Community Engagement

Become an advocate for your child and actively engage with the autism community. Attend workshops, join support groups, and connect with other parents who share similar experiences. By fostering a sense of community, you can gain valuable insights, share resources, and empower your child to thrive in all aspects of life. And... be sure to join our online community for moms of kids on the spectrum.

As we move closer to the start of a new school year, let's embrace the opportunity to create an inclusive and supportive learning environment for our kids with autism. 

When we consider these tools and strategies, we can pave the way for a successful academic journey, filled with growth, learning, and achievement. 

It’s 2024… Let’s Go!

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