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  • Sep04

    What If

    Author: Rebecca Knowlden

    The new school year is upon us… as summer turns to fall, the leaves are turning and we begin to see yellow school busses on the road. Our children are wearing new backpacks filled with paper and pencils, and heading off (out of our hands) into the hands of teachers and classrooms and school playgrounds. And as we let them go, we have hopes for great experiences for them, but also reservations about the hard stuff they will face in the New Year.

    However we can make a big difference for our autistic children by helping them be prepared! Set your child up for success. This will of course require some pre-planning on your part.  A few phone calls to the teacher and daycare, organizing the schedule and getting everyone on board to understand your child's challenges and coming up with a well-designed routine are all part of helping your child adjust to the new school year. 

    This is also a time to get your child prepared. Here’s a little game that I’ve used to address these very things.  I call it the ‘What If’ game. This helps relieve the scary, unknown pressures and the “I don’t know what to do” issues before they happen. Most children with autism have the special ability to use their imagination, so this game works well with that skill set.

    The ‘What If’ game goes like this:  Come up with some scenarios that you think your child might deal with during his or her school day.  Then start turning them into ‘What If’’ questions that your child can process through. 

    What if there aren’t any open seats on the bus?  What if I don’t know what my teacher is saying?  What if a kid is not nice to me on the playground? Etc., etc. 

    Use words and pictures if necessary to connect the thoughts and ideas. Make it fun and positive and enlist the whole family if that helps.

    Having some of the ‘What If’s’ addressed ahead of time will take a little bit of the scary, unknown pressure down a few notches. Most children can benefit from that kind of help at the beginning of a new experience. And it will become a way that your child can begin to learn to cope with new experiences.

    On the Upside Core Principle #7: Find the best Strategies 

    The new school year is upon us… as summer turns to fall, the leaves are turning and we begin to see yellow school busses on the road. Our children are wearing new backpacks filled with paper and pencils, and heading off (out of our hands) into the hands of teachers and classrooms and school playgrounds. And as we let them go, we have hopes for great experiences for them, but also reservations about the hard stuff they will face in the New Year.

    However we can make a big difference for our autistic children by helping them be prepared! Set your child up for success. This will of course require some pre-planning on your part.  A few phone calls to the teacher and daycare, organizing the schedule and getting everyone on board to understand your child's challenges and coming up with a well-designed routine are all part of helping your child adjust to the new school year. 

    This is also a time to get your child prepared. Here’s a little game that I’ve used to address these very things.  I call it the ‘What If’ game. This helps relieve the scary, unknown pressures and the “I don’t know what to do” issues before they happen. Most children with autism have the special ability to use their imagination, so this game works well with that skill set.

    The ‘What If’ game goes like this:  Come up with some scenarios that you think your child might deal with during his or her school day.  Then start turning them into ‘What If’’ questions that your child can process through. 

    What if there aren’t any open seats on the bus?  What if I don’t know what my teacher is saying?  What if a kid is not nice to me on the playground? Etc. 

    Use words and pictures if necessary to connect the thoughts and ideas. Make it fun and positive and enlist the whole family if that helps.

    Having some of the ‘What If’s’ addressed ahead of time will take a little bit of the scary, unknown pressure down a few notches. Most children can benefit from that kind of help at the beginning of a new experience. And it will become a way that your child can begin to learn to cope with new experiences.

    On the Upside Core Principle #7: Find the best Strategies


    • Sun, Sep 26th 2010, 13:35 - Sylvia Wallen

      Fantastic ideas for teachers to suggest!


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