Hi everyone! Hope everyone is having a fun (and safe!) summer. Sorry to break it to everyone, but before we know it, we will be back to school shopping . One of the things that is good to do over the summer is to prepare kids for the upcoming school year. This is why I have picked to talk about how to talk to adults at school.
Connect with the Guidance Counselor
First off, let’s talk about meeting or greeting the guidance counselor, or a higher-up administrator that can help you and your child tour the school, see classrooms/lunchrooms/etc. and give you a better understanding of the school environment. It is a great idea to set up a meeting with the guidance counselor so your child will always have a go-to person who will understand his or her needs and be able to help if anything happens at school. Help the child understand that the guidance counselor is not scary, but is a “friend” they can trust if they are getting bullied, etc.
Meet with your Teacher
It is also a good idea to talk with your teacher(s) before school begins and introduce you and your child to them. If possible, it can help to explain your child’s strengths and differences so that the teacher can be better prepared. My mom always gave out books on how to teach High Functioning Autism students ahead of time and underlined things that pertained to me. It’s always helpful to have a good relationship with your child’s teacher early on so if anything problems come up, s/he can help you with them! We always made it clear to the school and teacher that we were “partners in Haley’s education”. This helped a great deal.
Help your child learn to address adults, such as Mr., Mrs. Ms. , or Dr. Help your child learn appropriate classroom etiquette like not to scream out answers in class and instead raise their hands. Help your child learn that certain topics are off limits with teachers. For example, do NOT ask a teacher about their personal life or how much money they make. I have seen both done not only in elementary school years, but in middle and high school! That is a good way to alienate yourself from the teacher. The teacher will not like your child if they ask questions like that.
Get Acquainted with the School Nurse
Also, let your child get acquainted with the school nurse, especially if he or she is on medication. It is a good idea to teach your children about tolerance as the nurse’s office is not somewhere you go if you have personal problems. Go to the nurse if: your bleeding, have a fever, a bad tummyache, etc.
One place that strikes fear into every kid is the principal’s office. You must be very respectful and honest if you ever called in there. Help your children learn to never take blame for something they didn’t do (this is very common among kids with ASD – they are bamboozled by their peers and thus get into trouble when they did nothing wrong). Everyone I know on the spectrum has had one of these incidents! It’s almost unavoidable, but I’m hoping you can get a leg up by working on this over the summer! It might be a good idea for the parent to warn the principal and teachers about how kids in the spectrum are easily manipulated and take blame many times for things they didn’t do. Kids with ASD sometimes would rather take the blame than be ridiculed by their classmates.
Signing out for the month of July! I will be back with many more tips for school in August!
In the meantime, stay safe and enjoy the rest of the summer!