Finding After-School Programs for Children with Autism

Finding After-School Programs for Children with Autism

After-school programs can be a great option for both kids and their parents. Children who show an interest in a given subject or activity will always want to engage in more of it. Parents who need a bit more childcare or want to try to introduce new things to their children will also be interested in finding after-school programs.

Finding a great after-school program for children with autism, however, can be a bit more challenging. Many standard after-school programs are not set up to handle certain needs of children with autism. So, how can you find a great after-school program for children with autism?

Know Your Child’s Needs

When you start looking for an after-school program for a child with autism, you need to know that child’s needs. How are they with new things and changes in routine? Do they have extreme sensory sensitivities?

Answering questions like these can help you determine which programs will work and which won’t before diving into more research. Some children with autism will thrive in after-school programs designed for neurotypical children–it all depends on the needs of that individual child.

Talk to Your Child’s School or Autism Service Provider

Before looking at programs online, talk to your child’s school or ASP. Many autism service providers offer after-school programs and activities. If you’re looking for programs specifically built for children with autism, this is the best place to start.

Having a conversation with your child’s teacher or therapist can also allow you to ask about specific programs. Outside of being able to recommend after-school programs in general, your child’s teacher therapist can recommend programs that your child would do better in. Getting a personal recommendation is always better than reading reviews or information online.

Look Up State-Sponsored Programs

State-sponsored programs, along with county- & city-sponsored programs, can be a great way to start the search for after-school programs and activities specifically designed for children with autism. Statewide (or even nationwide) programs will give you the information you can use to search for programs more relevant to your child: local programs.

When you start the search for local programs, make sure to talk to your child’s school or the school district. Many schools or district websites have lists of programs and activities designed for children with different needs. If you can’t find something on a website, be sure to make a phone call. Talking to a representative is the best way to find out if they offer a program suited to the needs of your child.

ABA Therapy from IABA Consultants

If you have questions regarding autism treatment, education, or plans to use ABA therapy, we are here for you! Our goal is to make sure no family is turned away due to financial constraints. Our therapy team would love to talk to you. Find the location closest to you and give us a call. We’re here for you.

Making School Schedules Easier for People with Autism

Making School Schedules Easier for People with Autism

Transferring from school to break and back again is hard for every child. The changes in schedule and routine are a lot to handle. This goes doubly so for children with autism.

Children with autism have more difficulty than neurotypical children when it comes to understanding and accepting changes to routines. With Thanksgiving and Winter break coming up, we decided to take a look at some great ways to make school schedules easier for children with autism to understand.

Developing Priorities

Developing priorities can help make life easier for autistic children in school programs. While priorities can start with little things, they can gradually start focusing on times, dates, and other longer-term things.

Determining values can help steer us toward more fulfilling outcomes, even on a day-to-day basis. If your child is working toward learning to tie their shoes independently, for instance, repetition will help them achieve this more quickly. The downside to a lot of repetition is that you aren’t able to get other values-related tasks done. Putting the things you value most at the front of your list can help tackle important issues first.

Prioritizing times, events, and other things on a schedule can help children with autism understand that a larger-than-normal change is coming. The best way to start developing priorities for your child is by talking to their primary care providers. The insight they will be able to give can help you know what kind of priorities your child will be able to set and maintain.

Making an upcoming change easy to follow and understand can help ease the transition.

Autism School Supply Checklist

Making sure your child has the right supplies for school and any events can make schedules seem easier. How? Because your child will have tools and personal items they know will be used at specific times throughout each school day.

Every program has different requirements for school supplies. Before looking at our general list, you’ll definitely want to look over any list of supplies or materials provided by your child’s school.

The following are general items with brief guidelines to highlight some of the most important things to make sure your child has at school.

  • Lunch box. Having a reusable lunch box with compartments may help your child get into a regular lunch routine. Buying several of the same lunch boxes can help if you don’t have time to wash one every day. Compartments in lunchboxes can help your child understand where their regular lunch foods will be every day.
  • Comfort Items. Make sure your child has their favorite comfort item to bring to school each day. Things like stuffed animals or a favorite blanket may help your child settle into a comfortable routine at school each day.
  • Correct School Supplies. After looking at a supply list provided by your child’s school, go shopping with your child and allow them to pick versions of the supplies they are comfortable with. Remember to buy extras of expendable supplies so they will have the same item they are comfortable with after the first one is done.
  • Organized Backpack. A backpack with extra pouches or internal dividers is a great way to set up your child’s bag for easy use that can help them get into a regular school routine. Putting things in the same place can help them remember where their things are throughout the school day.
  • Emergency Sheet. Be sure to include any information a teacher, aide, or therapist may need in your child’s bag. This sheet should include any and all information regarding sensory issues, specific behavioral issues, preferences, and anything else they may need to know if your child is having a difficult time.

Parent-Teacher Communication

The best way to ease a child with autism into a new schedule or routine is to have great parent-teacher communication. A child whose parents are preparing them for a specific program will expect that specific program. Having a teacher that follows up is crucial for a smooth transition.

Talking to a teacher or administrator about the needs of your child beforehand can make the changes of a school schedule less turbulent. You should also observe your child’s behaviors before, during, and after school. Their behaviors around their school may indicate how they view the environment, especially if they have issues with communication or speech.

Families should always monitor the behaviors of their children before and after school to determine if anything needs to be looked at or changed.

ABA Therapy from IABA Consultants

If you have questions regarding autism treatment, education, or plans to use ABA therapy, we are here for you! Our goal is to make sure no family is turned away due to financial constraints. Our therapy team would love to talk to you. Find the location closest to you and give us a call. We’re here for you.