Boundless advice is offered on all forms of media that suggests the best ways to handle the coming school year. Here are some tips that may help your not-so-neurotypical youngster who faces the challenges of the next academic season.
- Don’t wait to begin a daily routine; sleep time, awakening, toileting, dressing and morning breakfast should be consistent. Try to make that First Day as mundane as possible. Resist the urge to gush over the child, since such shows of affection may add to anxiety.
- Get sleep under control now. Consider warm epsom salt baths, essential oils, and special quiet time, especially free of digital devices. Melatonin should be considered. It is safe and effective; so, as the commercials say, “Ask your doctor today.”
- If there has been a lapse, re-start the supplements and medications a week or two before The Day. In addition, be prepared for the Fall stressors that may make parents want to re-think the medication schedule, and try to persevere, rather than get on the stimulant +/- anti-anxiety merry-go-round.
- When school starts, make sure that the child’s day includes some type of exercise, even if it’s just walking for a half hour. Sometimes, substituting traditional after-school interventions with social activities, such as marshall arts or hippo-therapy, can be quite helpful to the bigger picture.
- Double down on previously helpful diets. Consider trying safe supplements, such as probiotics, magnesium, or 5-hydroxy-tryptophan.
- Practice reading, math, etc. Those non-preferred activities are not going to get easier on their own. Your child is not lazy, dumb, or forgetful; continued difficulties with processing create challenges beyond those of typical peers.
- If necessary, construct easy-to-use, easy to institute, readable lists for teachers, administrators, school nurses, and kitchen staff.
- Consider whether the IEP created 3 months ago matches your child’s present skill set. Children who are recovering from autism often experience better improvement when placed in the company of neurotypical role models, rather than aggressive, non-verbal peers.
- Meeting the staff, and introducing the child to those individuals can be a great stress reliever. When starting at a new institution, just visiting the school, or even simply driving by, may assist in reducing First Day Anxiety.
- Especially in the early part of the semester, pay more attention to behaviors than grades.
Of course, many of these suggestions could assist the neurotypical child, as well.