At Spero, we encourage active engagement and parental support throughout the academic process. We understand that it can be devastating to watch your child struggle socially and in the classroom. You’re experiences as a parent may seem worlds away from your peers or family members. But you’re not alone. We strive to empower our parents with the education and tools necessary to assist their child with autism in succeeding in the classroom.
Learning all that you can about autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is the first step. There is a wealth of valuable information available to better understand what your child may be experiencing. Our article on autism resources for parents or this list of the top 10 Autism websites from Eden II is a great start.
Our mission to provide a safe, nurturing and cooperative learning environment begins with the child — but also extends to the parent. We believe in creating a supportive community for the students and parents to explore the best possible avenue for academic progress.
Home vs. School
A child’s behavior may differ greatly between school and home. This is quite common. Because children with ASD prefer routine and schedules, the flexible nature of homelife can be stressful for them. Or if a child finds school stressful, they may subdue their emotions until they get home.
This is why open communication between teachers and parents is crucial. Understanding a child’s stressors and creating effective coping and developmental strategies can alleviate many challenges you may experience as a parent.
- What triggers challenging behaviors?
- What is uncomfortable, stressful or frightening?
- What is calming or elicits a positive response?
Being consistent with the various ways your child learns, communicates and socializes in the classroom and at home goes a long way. Children with autism often have difficulty generalizing what they have learned in one environment to another.
If a child uses non-verbal means of communication such as sign language at school, this form of communication should continue in the home. The same strategy applies in how teachers and parents intervene and communicate with a child during challenging behaviors.
Remaining consistent with positive reinforcement and being specific about why your child is being praised is important. Also, you can try varying the ways in which you reward your child for acquiring a new skill.
It is also important to reward non academic or skill-based behavior. If you catch your child simply doing something positive, it is equally important to reward them and reinforce exactly why they are being congratulated.
Because children with ASD oftentimes excel with consistency, they also tend to do better with routines. Scheduled meal time, playtime and bedtime are just a few ways to utilize a schedule at home for your child. Therapy interventions should also remain on a rigid schedule.
Changes in the routine can be difficult for your child, but they are going to occur. Take time to communicate and prepare your child before deviating from the schedule.
An autism diagnosis affects more than just your child. Parents also need support. Autism support groups are a great way for parents and siblings to share experiences and get advice.
Autism support groups also offer a wealth of information and resources to keep you up to date with new research or learning practices.
A support system is a powerful tool. Taking care of yourself is an important part of raising a child with autism.
Finding the right learning environment
Because autism is a spectrum, every child diagnosed with ASD is unique. At Spero, we understand that every child requires an equally unique approach to support their academic learning environment.
Choosing a school for your child can be challenging, but there are plenty of options available.
We provide our Speros with a range of individualized services (based on IEPs) and learning plans. Spero Academy offers a wide array of programs to meet your child where they are — and help them get where they want to be.
- In-school occupational therapy
- In-school speech therapy
- Developmental adapted physical education (DAPE)
- Music therapy
- Physical therapy
- Structured teaching program
- Personal Learning Plans (PLP)
If you’re interested in learning more about Spero Academy’s program or philosophy, please contact us to schedule a tour. We’d love to meet you and your child and discuss why becoming a Spero student is so special.