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Back-to-School Tips for Kids on the Autism Spectrum

FRIDAY, Sept. 6, 2019 (Healthday News) -- Heading back to school can be especially stressful for children with autism and their parents, but preparation and establishing a routine can make it easier.

The Children's Hospital of Los Angeles has tips to help parents get a new school year off to a good start.

If time permits, ask to tour the school before classes resume. With permission, take pictures of the school, playground, classroom and teacher to create a picture book for your child.

Discuss your child's needs with the principal. Ask about the school's experience with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and how the staff works with children who have ASD.

If possible, meet teachers before school starts to talk about your child's strengths and needs, seating and potential distractions.

Try to keep at least one thing consistent from the previous school year, especially if your child is changing classrooms, teachers or schools. For example, if you were happy with your child's aide, try to keep the same one.

Look at pictures of friends and activities from the previous year with your child to encourage conversations about school.

Play "school" at home to help your child get used to expected activities and to ease fears.

If your child is starting at a new school and has a friend who's doing the same, let your child know they will be together in their new adventure.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more on autism.

SOURCE: Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, news release, August 2019

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