Here in Hamilton, the new school year doesn't start until January 9Th. Now I know, some kids went back to school this past Monday, but the extra week of holidays is nice, but it can make it all the more difficult to get back into the regular routine. And if your child has autism or Asperger's, it can be even more challenging as parents. During the Christmas holidays, we as a family tend to have a more flexible schedule. One that often involves sleeping in to around 9AM, which is late for Jacob. He as a result has been up fooling around in his room as late as midnight this past week. We as parents of a child with Asperger's, have a couple of things we do to help ease the transition from late nights and sleeping in, back to waking at 7AM and spending the day in school and being productive.
The obvious one, to help the sleeping side of things, is waking your child up early for the few days before heading back to school. Jacob has been grumpy in the mornings, but it's better to have him a little grumpy the weekend before school goes back, then it is to have him really grumpy on the Monday of school. If we plan to wake Jacob up a half hour earlier each day staring on Thursday, then by Monday, waking up at 7AM isn't so bad. If we try to go from 9AM to 7AM in one day, look out school.
Some parents I've spoke to, that also have autistic children that are high functioning, like to give their child small amounts of daily schoolwork over the holiday. This, they say helps keep the schedule and routine flowing. We as parents however like to use the holiday time to relax ourselves, so we often try to introduce schoolwork on the same days Jacob begins to wake up earlier. He often is a little grumpier because he woke up earlier, so Jacob often resists homework, but if we can get him to even look at it, he tends to respond when real work is presented in school. Sometimes we'll leave some math he's already completed on his desk at home and we've noticed him looking at it. At least if he looks at it, he'll be more likely to look at it on Monday in class.
Another trick we regularly use, is getting Jacob a back to school haircut on the weekend before he goes back. Luckily for us Jacob lets me cut his hair at home. Jacob loves it when I cut his hair short like mine. When we tell Jacob that it's time for his haircut, he knows that it's almost time to go back to school. We use giving Jacob a haircut, as a way to ready him for the new school year. This opens his mind to new things and new beginnings.
A fantastic tip, that we use, and I hear other parents use, is some sort of family outing the weekend before going back to school. I know that during the holidays there can be a lot of outings and family gatherings, but I find big gatherings can really throw Jacob off and right before going back to school, this is a bad thing. We plan to have an outing for just the 3 of us. It can be simple and inexpensive like going to the library or this year it was the AGH. This acts as a last hurrah of sorts and it signifies to Jacob the Christmas break is almost over.
Now there's been times when we've used all the tools in our toolbox and Jacob can still have a rough first couple of weeks. We just go with the flow and hope for the best. Today, when we mentioned going back to school, Jacob said "I hope I don't have a bad day when I get back to school. I hope I do all my work so I can use the DS and computer when I get home." Shannon and I both started laughing when we heard this. We know Jacob doesn't like being laughed at, but it was too funny. We told Jacob that we didn't like the idea of him scheduling his good and bad school days. We want him to have a good day every day he goes too school, but we often wonder if he takes school seriously. I hope this week goes smoothly for us and Jacob. If things become hectic or intense at school, at least he has a nice haircut. Feel free to comment and list any other tips you might use.
WELCOME TO JIM'S AUTISM BLOG
Hi everyone and thanks for visiting our blog. My wife and I created this blog to chronicle our experience while raising a son with Asperger's syndrome. Since our son was diagnosed with an ASD at age 5, we've had a lot of questions. Lucky for us we have a great support network in place. And our blog gives us an opportunity to share what we've learned with our readers. We hope you find our blog informative and interesting. Thanks again for visiting.
"It seems that for success in science and art, a dash of autism is essential." Dr Hans Asperger 1906-1980