Getting Ready for the New School Year
With the school holidays fast approaching it’s a great time to enjoy a break from busy school days and enjoy some relaxing time at home or away.
After the year we’ve had, particularly in parts of Australia such as New South Wales and Victoria, where constant lockdowns have been relentless, we all deserve a break, time to relax and rejuvenate, ready for what we can only hope will be a great year ahead.
As the beginning of the school year approaches, some children, particularly those on the autism spectrum, can start to suffer from anxiety. They may have certain things that play on their mind such as the thought of a new teacher, different children in the classroom, or perhaps a new school altogether if they’re transitioning to primary or secondary school.
Thoughts and feelings about going back to school can start to make the child irritable, with the possibility of causing meltdowns and other behavioural problems.
To help your child overcome their anxiety it can be really beneficial to talk to them about what they’re feeling. Ask them about why they feel that way, and try to work through strategies together to help deal with those feelings.
Role playing and social stories are always really good strategies for children with ASD. They can help them to feel more comfortable with the situation, and prepare them for what to expect in certain situations.
It can be a good idea to invite a friend from their class over for a ‘play date’ during the holidays. This will help them get to know at least one other child in their class so they can feel more settled when they return to school.
If they’re going to a new school it might be an idea to visit the school on a couple of occasions over the holidays. Go for a walk around the school, and get used to the buildings and layout so that it’s a familiar place when your child starts there on their first day.
Whilst these strategies may not make your child completely settled about what’s to come, they will help prepare their mind at least somewhat to make the transition back into the classroom a little smoother and more bearable for all.
In the meantime, you should congratulate yourself for getting through another year of home-schooling, and another year of COVID uncertainty, as well as the many other ups and downs you’ve faced along the way. Take the time to take a breath (and perhaps a little sip of something) and celebrate the fact you survived the year. Here’s to a better year ahead. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
SASI Guest Parent Blogger
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