CHECKLIST FOR BIG KIDS WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS (AGES 6-12)
A new school year brings with it a slew of fresh possibilities and difficulties for your child. Your child can achieve their full potential with the correct educational strategy. There is more to a school than simply learning. When it comes to friendships and social settings, your child is no different from their peers.
You may help your child excel in elementary school by following this 8-step checklist.
Step 1: Seek assistance from your school.
Autism spectrum disorders are frequently discovered by the time a kid reaches the age of three. For children who are three years old, they may be eligible for an individual education plan (IEP) that is tailored to their specific needs (IEP).
Therapy for speech/language, behavioral, and sensory issues may be included in an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Students may benefit from extra help in the classroom from a teacher’s aide or participation in a “lunch bunch” or social skills program at school.
An IEP team meets with parents to determine a child’s specific needs and abilities. However, if you feel that the IEP does not adequately address your child’s needs, you can file an appeal. Your kid’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is reviewed and updated every year, but you can request an update before that to ensure that your child fulfills their objectives.
An IEP is not required for every autistic child. A 504 education plan is available to students who do not qualify for an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). This plan provides for classroom adjustments that enhance a student’s learning experience.
Step 2: become more technologically savvy.
Children with autism can benefit from technology to improve their verbal, social, and behavioral abilities. Children can improve their concentration and acquire new abilities while having fun using educational applications and computer games and programs. Some technologies (known as “assistive devices”) are even capable of voicing children’s thoughts if they cannot express themselves verbally.
The doctor or speech or behavioral therapist of your child may be able to help you determine which apps or other media are best for him or her. Children’s education and therapy can benefit greatly from games that reinforce the abilities they are already learning.
Step 3: Schedule playdates and social outings with your kids.
Even if it’s difficult, it’s critical for children with autism to interact with their peers. Playdates and other activities allow practicing social skills and meeting new acquaintances. A social skills group can help those suffering from things like introducing themselves, chatting to others, interpreting social signs, and more. Those interested can join up.
For your child’s playmate, search for someone who has the same interests. You should organize your outings in advance so that your youngster does not become overwhelmed by too much noise and stimulus (such as going to a park or playground your child would love). Provide your child with a heads-up on what to expect. A visual calendar with pictures or social stories might help you “tell ahead” what will happen during a playdate.
Step 4: Involve Your Children in Physical Activity
For children with autism, physical activity can assist them in developing their fitness, coordination, strength, and body awareness. Obesity can be prevented in children who engage in regular physical activity. Exercise has been shown to improve focus and reduce repeated, self-stimulating activities.
Special Olympics, Little League Challenger Division, and TOPSoccer at the YMCA are just a few of the many sports programs that can assist your child in becoming more physically active while also making new friends who have the same disabilities. Aside from martial arts, therapeutic horseback riding and aquatic therapy are excellent ways to keep kids active.
Step 5: Emotional needs must be addressed in the fifth step.
Your youngster may experience feelings of exclusion, disconnection, or even bullying from time to time. When children with autism have difficulty relating to others, they may become angry or depressed.
If your child shows signs of depression, such as unhappiness, moodiness, or a tendency to isolate themselves, seek the advice of a professional counselor. An example of bullying behavior is:
- being uninterested in going to school
- diminished desire for food
- a hard time getting to sleep
- An unexplained scream
School administration should be contacted immediately if your child is bullied or mocked. Using role-playing to explain ways to handle bullies and notify teachers, guidance counselors, or other trusted adults can be helpful at home.
Be ready for puberty in step six.
As your child nears puberty, they will experience a wide range of emotions that are normal for adolescence. What can you expect when your child grows up and how to deal with it? Talk to your doctor about this. Encourage your adolescent to accept the changes that occur with growing up by assuring them that they are normal.
Allowing your child to dress or touch their private parts in public places is a big no-no for parents. Girls will have to learn how to change pads when they start having periods, while boys may require reassurance that having wet dreams is normal.
Your child should know the difference between proper and inappropriate contact and should come to you if someone crosses that boundary, so talk to them about it.
Step 7: Seek Assistance
Parenting an autistic child can be exhausting due to the constant demands on one’s time and attention. It is necessary to have a solid support system in order to get through even the most difficult days.
To meet other parents who understand your position, look for support groups in your area or join a local chapter of a national autism awareness organization. If you can’t find a local support group, try internet resources.
Step 8: Ensure the Future of Your Child
A will or other legal and financial structure for your child’s future can still be established if you haven’t done so already. To plan financially for your child’s future, consult an attorney who specializes in special needs law and a financial advisor.
The custody plan you devised for your child when they were younger should be revisited from time to time to make sure it is still the best option.