The beginning of the new school year is a time of transition, let the Autism Society’s Contact Center, AutismSourceâ„¢, be there for you! Here are a few tips from one of the great resources that we’d be happy to connect you with, from our Living with Autism series on transition brochure – Transition across Grade Levels:

• Before entering a new school, any anxieties the student may have about the new setting should be alleviated. Preparation for this move can be facilitated by providing the student with a map of the school, a copy of his or her fall schedule, a copy of the student handbook and rules, and a list of clubs and extracurricular activities.

• A videotape can be developed about the new school, providing written information about specific situations so that the student can learn and rehearse for the change at his or her own pace.

• Visitations should be conducted to allow the student and his or her family to meet relevant school staff, locate the student’s locker and become familiar with the school culture.

• Key people or a mentor should be identified that the student can contact if he or she is having a difficult time adjusting to or understanding a certain situation. Finding allocation where the student can go to relax and regroup also is helpful, as is providing the student with a visual menu of coping strategies.

• Parents should receive information about bus schedules, parent-teacher organizations and available resources (e.g., counselors, social workers, nurses).

• Prior to the new school year, methods and a schedule should be established for communicating between home and school. Suggestions for maintaining ongoing communication include journals, daily progress notes, mid-term grades, scheduled appointments or phone calls, informal meetings, report cards and parent-teacher conferences.

• Once in the new school, peers should be identified who are willing to help the student with the transition and acclimation to the new school.

By gaining the support of a friend without a disability, the student with autism may have greater access to social opportunities during and after school.

What is better than calling someone and talking about what you need – Open Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 9PM Eastern, call the Autism Society! The Autism Society’s Contact Center staff are here to get you to the resources you need and to make this time of the year a smooth, happy transition to a great school year ahead! Call 800-3-AUTISM (800-328-8476) or email info@autism-society.org