August 21, 2012

Back to School — Autism Speaks Edition CONT'D

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Getting Ready for School: Transition Tips for Students - Autism Speaks
"For many learners with autism, transitions are the toughest part of schooling. Moving from classroom to classroom or teacher to teacher can be stressful enough, but moving from building to building is almost always a process filled with anxiety and trepidation. These four strategies are designed to prepare the learner with autism for a new school or a new schooling experience and can be used days or months before the student arrives as well as throughout the school year."
Click here to read Paula Kluth's article. Visit her website Paula Kluth: Toward Inclusive Classrooms and Communities at for lots of helpful resources and tips for students with autism and their families.

Tips for Reducing the Stress Associated with Back to School
by Dr. Peter Faustino, School Psychologist

"The summer can be an opportunity to recharge and break from school routines, which is why September is often viewed as a mixed blessing. Parents of children with ASD are always trying to plan and prepare ahead of time. Unfortunately, we can’t account for every detail but here are a few tips for reducing the stress associated with back to school."
Click here to read Dr. Faustino's tips.

Topic of the Week: Preparing for Back to School...We Can Help!

We asked families including students, teachers and siblings about what they did to make the transition back to school go as smoothly as possible. Below are some valuable suggestions from our participants!
To ease the transition, I asked his new school if I could come a few times and walk around the building with him, which they said was fine. I also asked if we could meet the teachers ahead of time, which is working out also. I am writing up a little list for them of things that came up with him during his last preschool year, and the solutions the teachers and I found together.” - Oma (grandma of 5-year-old boy with autism)

The more proactive you are the better. I would ask to speak with the teacher(s) before school begins. It may be helpful to meet the teacher(s) and tour the school without all the normal chaos in order for him to orient to the new surroundings. If you are able to do this, take a camera and take pictures of his classroom, the bathroom, the cafeteria, and any other place he may go. Even take photos of the principal, the nurse, and the teacher(s).” - Melissa

My daughter and I put together a little trifold “getting to know ___(Me)__” brochure for the teachers and other staff members which she would give them on meet the teacher days before school started. This included a short intro, things she liked and didn’t like, what strategies worked and didn’t work in the classroom.” As she grew older, she put together the entire thing on her own. It was a short and sweet introduction and the teachers seemed to take it to heart more because it came from her heart. Teachers would also include it with their substitute lesson plans so subs would be aware of her needs as well.” - Helen
Click here to read other comments.


The IEP from A to Z: How to Create Meaningful and Measurable Goals and Objectives
by Diane Twatchman-Cullen and Jennifer Twatchtman-Bassett

Autism Speaks - Peer Mentoring Program

The Peer Mentoring program is a collaborative effort from the New York Center for Autism that brings typically developing students together with children with autism. This program is designed to help provide an understanding of autism and what children with autism need in order to learn, and also to teach some basic skills to help parents, teachers and peers interact, teach and play with children with autism.
Click here to view the Peer Mentoring Program Student Handbook.
Click here to view the Peer Mentoring Program Trainer Manual.

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Back to School: "School Zone" image courtesy of anankkml /

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