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August 2016 News & Events

Back-to-School Tips & Visuals for Children with Autism

Starting a new school year (especially after a long summer break) can produce anxiety and fear in any child. These feelings of unease are often magnified in children on the autism spectrum, who may have trouble communicating and rationalizing them. It is especially critical for families to establish familiar and predictable routines so their children with autism feel confident, safe and happy while transitioning to school.
Below are tips and sample visual supports (please click the links below to access the visuals) that will help promote positive experiences for children with autism, as they begin school. Please note, these visuals are intended to provide a framework. Please feel free to modify them to meet your child's specific needs.

Home Preparation

  1. Develop and practice new morning, after-school, and bedtime routines using visual schedules and/or video models
  2. Gradually adjust child's bedtime and wake-up schedules, so both occur a few minutes earlier each night/morning (begin a week or two before school starts)
  3. Practice taking out clothes and packing backpack the night before
  4. Create and post a schedule of the day at home
  5. Purchase and practice using school supplies at home to increase familiarity and comfort
  6. Schedule time for school-related activities (e.g., morning circle time, reading, math) and decrease use of electronics by scheduling specific times for usage
  7. Practice eating packed lunch out of lunch box
  8. Create and maintain a countdown calendar leading up to school
  9. If needed, identify a transitional object from home (e.g., teddy bear, blanket, photo) to promote security and independence at school

School Preparation

  1. Regularly walk or drive past school while on trips to other places to establish familiarity
  2. Informally visit the school (e.g., play on playground)
  3. Create and routinely read a social story about the new school, with actual photos of the school, classroom and teacher
  4. Create a packet of information about your child to share with teachers (e.g., strategies that are effective at home)
  5. Schedule a meet and greet with teacher(s) so child is introduced to new surroundings and people, and parents have opportunity to share packet of information and foster collaboration
  6. Create communication forms to pass between home and school daily
  7. If needed, work with teacher to develop a transition plan/schedule to decrease separation issues
  8. Develop a separation visual schedule and social story for school including drop-off and pick-up, to set child's expectations
  9. Develop a simple, weekly school calendar to communicate days-on and days-off
  10. Develop an emotions chart for child to use at school as needed
  11. Stay positive and upbeat so child can mirror your positive attitude

Save the Dates

Functional Communication: An In-Depth Look at Reducing and Replacing Challenging Behaviors
Friday, October 14, 2016 (NEOEA DAY 2016)
9am - 11:30am
Bellefaire JCB (Shaker Hts., OH)
Stay tuned for more details in the near future...

STABLE Account
This fall, Treasurer of Ohio, Josh Mandel's office will provide an in-person, in-depth training at Bellefaire JCB on STABLE Account, which allows individuals with disabilities to save and invest without losing government benefits such as Medicaid and SSI.
Stay tuned for more details in the near future...

For more information, please visit our website, send us an email, or call 216-320-6805.


School Bus Safety

Training for Transportation Staff
This presentation will help your child's/student's transportation providers: a) Gain knowledge about the general characteristics specific to individuals with autism; b) Identify techniques to support students with autism during transport to and from school.

Rules, Routines & Rewards
These visual supports can be used by transportation providers to teach their passengers rules, routines and incentives/rewards that promote bus safety. 
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