I have 2 sons who are transitioning to Middle School. This an exciting and anxiety provoking time for me as a parent. If that is the case for me, I’m sure my boys are also anxiously anticipating the transition. The following tips and suggestions are things that I find to be helpful and informative as a parent to both an amazing child with Autism and an amazing neurotypical child. Did I say my sons are AMAZING!?
Below are 10 tips on helping a child with Autism transition to Middle School. Followed by general suggestions for preparing the student, the parent, and the academic support team for the transition:
Now would be a good time to mention, of course we hope that all teachers would read the IEP in an effort to familiarize themselves with your student. But this is Middle School. This means several different classes, different teachers with different teaching styles and they may not see the SDI if they don’t read the IEP.
It would be a good idea for you to shoot the teacher a quick email summarizing your child’s strengths and weaknesses, SDI’s, and any other special information you think is important, to share about your child. I always say “It is better to lead with your strengths rather than letting others discover your deficiencies”. Provide the teacher with a “cheat sheet” to understanding your student.
When my son was in 3rd grade we added the computer lab on his school’s campus to his list of SDI’s where he could go daily and use a software program that helped him with writing, sentence completion, comprehension and grammar. He was already strong in English but writing was an issue due to difficulties with fine motor skills. He responded to the program brilliantly and now is much better at writing and taking notes.
After school programs are an opportunity for your student to do something fun and create relationships with others based on common interests, develop a positive association with school, and feel good about themselves! Win Win Win!
A few General tips
Over the Summer:
The following are a few things you and your child can do to prepare over the summer
With the School :
As a parent I truly hope that all of the above tips help you and your student(s) get your “Transition Mission” accomplished. I am praying on behalf of my family and yours that Middle School be an awesome, cultivating, learning, challenging, inspiring, fun experience for our children!
Sources: Vicker, B (2003), AAutisminRealLife.com
image from: Indian Grove Elementary School
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