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Let’s take a moment to pat ourselves on the back for making it through the first month of school we did it! As a parent of a child with autism, it’s especially important to maintain positive and continued communication with teachers. There are so many day-to-day happenings that are important for both parents and teachers to know about. Here are some helpful ways to maintain a strong relationship with your child’s teacher.

    1. Ask for their preferred method of contact. This is important. The last thing anyone wants to happen is to find out you’ve been writing emails to someone who never checks their inbox —  yikes! Asking them for the best way to reach them from the beginning can clear up any confusion early on.
    2. Try to communicate outside of Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings. IEP meetings are a great way for teachers, parents and therapists (if your child has one who comes to school) to sit down and review the child’s progress and where they need improvement. However, sometimes things can’t wait to be shared at the next IEP meeting. Setting up meeting times in-between IEP meetings can help parents, teachers and the child tremendously.
    3. Be respectful. As a parent of a child with autism, your child’s needs are evident. A teacher can have many other students in the same classroom with varying needs. We need to respect that our child is not the only one in the equation. Trust that the teacher is doing the best they can to not only meet your child’s needs, but those of their peers.
    4. Give them your tips. A child can have many teachers and faculty come in and out of their life. Communicating your tips and tricks to your child’s specific needs can be a tremendous help. Also, it may give you some relief that the teacher is going to use the same techniques that you do at home. Consistency in the life of your child with autism can be beneficial to them.
    5. Remember: This is a team effort. Everyone involved wants to see your kiddo succeed. Knowing what they do at home can help the teacher throughout the school day — and knowing what they did at school can help you at home. With effort being shown and communicated on both sides, you can expect to see some positive results this school year.

 

 

We are all busy. Sometimes, maintaining communication with a teacher can’t fit into your schedule. We totally get it. But occasionally using and sticking to a few of these methods can make a difference in the school year. We already conquered one month, so here’s to a happy and healthy nine more! #autismawarenesseveryday

Bedtime.

For some parents, it’s a seemingly harmless word that nevertheless can strike fear into hearts.

Some children seem to gain a special kind of hyper and defiant energy when told to prepare for bed. As the first day of school approaches, getting children to bed for a solid night’s sleep is critical, but the amount of sleep needed varies by age. The National Sleep Foundation recommends for preschool children (11-13 hrs), school age children (10 -11 hrs) and for adolescents (9 ¼ hrs). Daytime sleepiness can result in hyperactivity, inattentiveness and aggression. Having energy during the school day can make a monumental difference.

First things first: take a deep breath. You can do this!

For children with Autism, sleep problems are very common. The two most prevalent challenges are difficulty falling asleep and repeated awakenings throughout the night. Some medications may have a detrimental impact on a child being able to fall asleep or stay asleep. Before putting your child on any new medications, ask your doctor about possible nighttime side effects. If you are currently dealing with these issues, ask your doctor if it may be because of medication.

Start your school year off by establishing a bedtime routine both you and your child can depend on.

  1. Exercise during the day can make it easier for a child to fall asleep. Try to avoid any intensive physical activities close to bedtime, which can have the opposite effect.
  2. Avoid caffeine close to bedtime. Be aware of any beverages your child is consuming which could be harboring caffeine, including tea, soda, and chocolate.
  3. Your child’s sleep environment is critical. It should be calm, dark, and cool. Be aware of any possible toys or distractions in the environment.
  4. Create a predictable routine. Perhaps a bath, listening to music, or reading a book. The use of electronic devices immediately before bedtime can make it more difficult to fall asleep.
  5. Teach your child to fall asleep alone. For many parents, this can be the most difficult challenge, as you want to comfort a distressed child. Stay with your child before bedtime but leave before they fall asleep. If needed, only return to their room for reassurances, and leave shortly thereafter.

This bedtime routine can be a special time for you and your child to unwind, relax, and bond. It won’t always go perfectly, of course, but don’t let temporary discouragement keep you from getting back on track. Now, let’s get to sleeping!

 

References

Autism Speaks

          A strong parent-teacher relationship is always important. When you have a child with Autism, it is essential. Consistent parent-teacher communication can make a tremendous difference in your child’s learning and progress. As always, Cayer Behavioral Group is here to take a little bit of that weight of your shoulders and answer all your questions!

          To work toward a positive relationship with your child’s teacher, schedule a one-on-one appointment with them. That way you will be able to specifically talk about your child’s needs and what is expected of them.

          Before going to the meeting, have a list of questions prepared. There’s no such thing as too many questions! Some questions you can ask include:

  1. What is my child expected to learn this year?
  2. How will this be evaluated?
  3. How will my child’s progress be monitored?
  4. What is the best way for us to stay in contact?
  5. What types of tests and evaluations will my child have to take this year?
  6. Is my child participating in class activities?
  7. How are my child’s social skills?
  8. Does my child seem happy at school?
  9. Have you noticed any unusual behaviors?
  10. Do you think my child is reaching his/her potential?
  11. What can I do at home to help support his/her academic progress?

          Remember, don’t be afraid to continue to ask questions if you don’t understand something. Teachers understand that some things are hard to comprehend, and and it is their job to help.

          Throughout the meeting, be yourself! You and the teacher both want the very best for your child. After the meeting, talk with your child and give them an appropriate overview of what was discussed. Ideally, everyone involved should have a clear understanding.

          Don’t forget that you are not the first person to want specific information regarding their child’s education. Everyone involved wants to see your child succeed, and with a strong relationship with your child and their teacher, anything is possible!