By: Cara Koscinski MOT, OTR/L
Author of: The Pocket Occupational Therapist (www.pocketot.com)
Adding on to my previous “Back to School Transition Tips” post, here are tips 2 through 6:
2) Do not wait until the last-minute to purchase school supplies. Take your child to the store and allow him or her to make choices of color of notebooks, folders, brand of pencils, etc. Any choice you are able to give your child encourages feelings that they are in control of the situation. This is important as so many aspects of school are beyond their control.
3) Ask your child to help you to label items. This is a good way to practice writing his or her name. Allow them to choose the color of the marker. Use of an “old-fashioned” label maker is a good way to increase hand strength. Squeezing the tool can work those hand muscles.
4) Obtain the daily school schedule and post it on the refrigerator or a centrally located area. Review the schedule daily and use words such as, “It’s 9:00 now. When you are in school you will be in reading class with Mrs. Jane.” Do this frequently throughout the day.
5) Begin to practice handwriting and keyboarding with your child. Have them help you to make the grocery list, daily schedule, or write cards to relatives. Making handwriting fun is important to build confidence and strengthen those hand muscles in preparation for school.
6) Begin bedtime routines at least three weeks prior to school. It won’t be easy but do not fret! Gradually work up to the desired bedtime and make a written “wind-down” schedule of activities that are calming and the bed time routine. Allow your child to help make the schedule and give rewards for every little success. Use calming music, massage, and soothing scents in the bath to encourage the body and mind to relax.
Next up? Part 3 of the “Back to School Transition Tips” with tips 7 and 8.
By- Cara Koscinki MOT, OTR/L
Author of The Pocket Occupational Therapist- a handbook for caregivers of children with special needs. Questions and answers most frequently asked to OTs with easy to understand answers and fun activities you can do with your child. Order anywhere books are sold. Cara is also the mother to two children on the autism spectrum. Visit her website at www.pocketot.com