The end of the Christmas holidays, for many parents of ASD kids can be a blessed relief. The trauma of Christmas with its over stimulus of flashing fairy lights, noise and colour can be hugely confusing and terrifying for our children, that the welcome return of school can be a God send.
But how do you get your child back into the swing of school when their sleep patterns, daily activities and so on have been geared around being at home?
That’s easy! For a parent like me with an Autistic teenager who also has a pathological aversion to getting up before noon, I have developed a quick and stress free strategy to coax even the most immovable children on the first day back at school! So here we go to ensure your ASD child gets back into the routine of school!
- Rehearse! One of the best ways I have enabled my son to get up ready for school on the first day back from any school break is to do a dummy run at least one day before. That way, the stress of waking up at what he decides is an ‘unearthly hour’ will be less anxiety filled for both of you. You might want to try it two days before. Simply remind them in the best way you know how the night before that this is what is going to happen so they can expect it. The key here is to the always try and take the sting out of the event. Gradual build up to something like going back to school will always be easier on everyone in the house!
- Use small steps! Jon never, and still doesn’t like the idea of having to deal with any event in one hit. So when I need him to get up early and be ready to go somewhere like school, I will walk him through each step of the day, one bit at a time. If I know it is going to be a very intense event for him, I will go through the day half an hour at a time. That way, he knows he can feel calmer throughout the day so that he can focus on what is expected of him. If you’re not going to be physically with him, make sure that anyone who is going to be with him that day (school support, teaching assistant) has a heads up before of what they need to do.
- Gently Gently! Jon is so much better to coax into doing something if I take the calm approach. There is no point losing my rag with him when I know that time is ticking on and he needs to get going. I have found that there is a much better way of asking him to do something if I word it like this…
‘Jon, if you have your breakfast now, you will be able to watch a few minutes of TV before the school bus arrives..‘ Rather than ‘Jon, you will be late if you don’t hurry up and eat your breakfast’
I find that the latter will only enable him to focus on the most stress making word in that sentence – late – so that won’t help with his stress levels and is more likely to hinder any motivation to want to move. Using word techniques to help people with Autism cope with tasks has been used for over 40 years in methods like NLP, but my particualr favourite is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. It has helped people with all sorts of disorders from Autism to depression, not to mention how to help positive thoughts and keep your child motivated, happy and confident!
I have been using CBT with my son, Jonathan for almost ten years, but I will be honest with you. It has only helped Jon when I have tailored the methods and used the regularly. That’s the secret I have found to CBT. Using it in daily life, or at least a few times a week in activities is the only way to ensure that Jon gets the tools to help himself deal with the anxities of life that comes with Autism.
WHAT YOU CAN DO NEXT….
I would like you to download my FREE paper on how I have used CBT successfully in Jon’s life. I was determined to really get the best out of using techniques like the ABC Model and working with Schemas that I decided to become a qualified CBT Therapist myself.
So here I am, giving you a flying start in helping your child to be confident, independent and successful in social and communcaition skills! I think you will gain an awful lot from the technqiues I cover in this 23 page guide which I have written especially for you. It is completely FREE and the knowledge that I wish someone had told me about when Jon was first diagnosed!