Often one of the biggest issues for a parent of a child with Aspergers is how will my child cope with school and Aspergers? There are few Asperger school facilities specifically catering to the needs of children and as such a normal school environment, or home schooling, are the only possibilities. There are some strategies though which can help your child deal with the uncertainty and anxiety which can arise out of this new environmental challenge.
Children with Aspergers syndrome can benefit significantly from a structured and clear routine. The most effective routines are one which span their entire day, from getting up in the morning, to getting back into bed at night. Ideally, such a routine will provide structure without excessive rigidity, so as to provide certainty to your child without causing undue anxiety if for some reason the routine cannot be exactly complied with on any given day.
Planning a child's morning routine can be particularly important in providing a launching pad into a school day, and a child with Aspergers Syndrome can benefit from visual reminders, either by way of lists or story boards which help provide instructions.
If your child is about to start school, it is essential that you attend at the school with your child prior to the first day. If possible, you might consider approaching the school and inquiring whether they will facilitate your child being taken through a shortened version of the school day prior to other students being in attendance.
If the school is prepared to facilitate this, meet with the teacher of your child and ensure your child is clear on the school routine and the expectations which will be placed on them.
Again, children with Aspergers can benefit from a list or story card of how their day will progress, in order that they can refer to it and be clear on what is happening now and what will happen next. A copy should also be provided to their teacher, or even prepared with their input.
It will assist if the teacher is conscious of your child's needs so that if there is to be any significant change in routine they can advise your child before hand. This has the inherrent mutual benefit to the teacher of avoiding anxiety or outbursts from your child in circumstances where a change of routine causes distress.
One important factor you might consider drawing to the teachers attention is that at times during the day Aspergers children may provaricate or obsess over a topic of choice, or display repetitive behavior. This is often indicative of an Asperger's child dealing with anxiety, and whilst it may seem inappropriate, can serve to maintain stability. An understanding approach to these interludes from your child's teacher will assist more than a disciplinarian one.
Closing out the day at home with a scheduled routine can also assist. Include time to review the day with your child, complete homework,
Often children with Asperger's will experience sleep difficulties so a night time routine, whilst not remarkably different in nature to any child, should be more strictly adhered to. In addition, a bedroom environment as free from extraneous sensory stimuli, such as bright light or noise, can also assist an Aspergers child in sleeping.
An Asperger's child has a need for routine and the importance of providing one cannot be overstated, and is apt to reduce the stress in both your life, and that of your child.
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