I’m writing this as somewhat of a veteran “Autism Mom.” My kids are older now, 16 & 17. But, when they were babies and new to the system, I was in the classrooms volunteering as much as possible- I had eyes and ears telling me what kid did what to my kiddo that day, and I was on the PTA. Not to mention SEAC, TACA, TASA Board Member, Founder of Spectrum Parents, etc. I immersed myself in Autism.
Helpful Tips for a GREAT school Year –
1. Be a classroom mom. One year, I was the store manager and THAT was the best. I brought in my own presents and felt like SANTA. His classmates loved him.
2. Go to lunch as often as possible. Know all of the kids names. Bring goodies. I used to bring in those three foot twizlers from the dollar store for every child in both my kids classes. Not to mention cookies, cupcakes, etc. AND my kiddo always passed everything out.
3. Take crazy fun pictures when they are in line at the end of lunch – before the teachers get there and tell the kids who aren’t supposed to have their pictures taken, to move to the side. The kids eat this up. Send it to the teacher so she can pass it onto the other parents.
4. Bring people like the sun wheelers to the school and photograph the event. They are the guys who play sports in wheelchairs. At the assembly, they play against the teachers. The kids go crazy cheering for their favorites. It also brings awareness that not everyone is the same and that’s ok. We did this in Nov, I think. The kids got to ask questions to the guys – and YOU KNOW my son got to participate.
5. I always wanted to do a parent panel just for the teachers giving them insight into our world. If you can, do this event.
6. Give gifts to your teachers randomly – through out the year. Include the cafeteria manager and PE teachers. A $5 plant, one of those massive cupcakes from Harris Teeter, Starbucks GC, etc. Give it to the ones who adore your kiddos, but really give it to the ones who don’t understand your child. Everyone loves to feel appreciated and who knows, they might start to treat your child with a softer approach.
7. I think Autism Awareness Month is in April. Ask your media person if they could have a child with autism read one fact a day about Autism to bring Awareness to your school. Connor got to go a few times.
Check out this Video Spectrum Parents made this year:
8. Ask for social skills training with the school counselor. My son got to handpick friends to go with him – and that scored big. It was during lunch. They did role playing, board games, played with puppets , etc.
9. When he was being bullied at lunch, I asked if he could sit at one of the rounder tables and invite a few friends to join him. And of course, I brought treats.
10. Throw a pool party, gaming bus party, nerf war party, etc, as soon as school starts. Invite the whole class. Take photos, email them to the teacher and ask if she’ll do a slideshow. Email them to the parents too.
11. As soon as you find a friend at school that clicks with your child, invite them to the movies, putt-putt golf, DQ, etc. Have them over for about 1 hour afterwards, no longer. Limit the time, so it ends on a good note.
12. Throw magical classroom parties. Invite Santa for the Holidays, hire the snow cone truck for the end of the year party, buy big red lips – candy for Valentines Day, etc.
13. In your child’s class do a power point of all the famous people who had/have autism. Do a Q&A session at the end.