Tuesday, July 29, 2014

July 2014 Newsletter: Transition Back-To-School

July 2014 Newsletter Topic: Autism and "Back to School"
I know it's still the middle of summer, but this month we're going to share ideas, tips, and resources for helping children with autism transition back to school in the fall. Since we mail out our newsletter at the end of the month, it will be the perfect time to start working on the transition!

Check back with us all month long on our Facebook and Twitter pages for us to post new resources as they are added. Make sure you're subscribed to our free newsletter to get all the resources at the end of July!

Tips and Articles:

Helping Our Kids with Autism Transition Back Into School - http://positively-autism.blogspot.com/2014/07/helping-our-kids-with-autism-transition.html

Classroom Checklist - http://positively-autism.blogspot.com/2014/07/classroom-checklist.html

Autism Guide for Bus Drivers and Transportation Supervisors - http://positively-autism.blogspot.com/2014/07/autism-guide-for-bus-drivers-and.html

Tips for Reducing the Stress Associated with Back to School - http://positively-autism.blogspot.com/2014/07/tips-for-reducing-stress-associated.html

Getting Ready for School: Transition Tips for Students with Autism - http://positively-autism.blogspot.com/2014/07/getting-ready-for-school-transition.html

Back-To-School Tips and Q & A with Dr. Paula Kluth - http://positively-autism.blogspot.com/2014/07/back-to-school-tips-and-q-with-dr-paula.html


School Supply Picture Cards - http://positively-autism.blogspot.com/2014/07/school-supply-picture-cards.html

Back To School Social Story - http://positively-autism.blogspot.com/2014/07/back-to-school-social-story.html

Picture Schedule for Morning Routine - http://positively-autism.blogspot.com/2014/07/picture-schedule-for-morning-routine.html


July 2014 Positive Autism News - http://positively-autism.blogspot.com/2014/07/july-2014-positive-autism-news.html

Friday, July 25, 2014

Picture Schedule for Morning Routine

You can use this set of picture cards to make a picture schedule for your child's morning routine. Having a consistent picture schedule of the steps to the routine can help your child to follow the routine more smoothly and independently.


Another tip about morning routines: about a month before school starts, wake up your children a little earlier each morning to prepare for the time they will need to wake up for school. You can also start practicing the morning routine using these picture cards in the weeks before school starts to get your child used to the routine.

Positively Autism also has a free set of bedtime routine picture cards to use for a bedtime schedule. http://www.positivelyautism.com/downloads/BedtimeRoutinePictureCards.pdf

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Back To School Social Story

Time For School: A Back To School Social Story

From "Educating Everyone 4 Life"

This Back to School social story is designed to help children cope with the transition of coming back to school after summer vacation. This is a visual story made for children with autism; however, all children can benefit from this story. Children with Special Needs, who or autistic, or who are in the general education classroom benefit when using a visual representations of a change in their routine. Use this book as a printable, multimedia presentation, or social story. This book is aligned with Common Core Standards in Reading.


Here is an example of a more specific social story that you can write for your child using your own pictures and information: http://www.machkovich.com/Cory/AutismRecovery/SocialStories/BacktoSchool.pdf

In order to make the social story, you can arrange to visit your child's teacher and classroom before school begins to introduce your child and take some photos. If you are unable to arrange this type of visit, you can visit the school building and possibly the playground to get your child familiar with the environment and take photos of these. Also, you may be able to find pictures of the teacher, school building, or classroom on the school's website that you can use to make a social story.

Monday, July 21, 2014

School Supply Picture Cards

A set of picture cards of common school supplies. Can be used for a variety of activities including picture communication, vocabulary development, flash cards, matching games, and more!


Another tip for school supplies is to color-code school supplies for different subjects, such as having blue notebooks, binders, and other materials for math, red for language arts, and so on. Color-coding can help a child organize school materials and the colors can be integrated into a picture schedule.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Back-To-School Tips and Q & A with Dr. Paula Kluth

If you've been following Positively Autism for any length of time, you'll know how much we love Paula Kluth. Her practical, compassionate, and helpful advice on teaching children with autism is nothing less than awesome! Here are is a download of her advice on transitioning back to school.

Here is a short interview with Dr. Kluth with some tips on getting ready for school: http://www.autismspeaks.org/sites/default/files/documents/family-services/paula_interview.pdf

If you're looking for a great staff training resource, check out this package from Dr. Paula Kluth!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Getting Ready for School: Transition Tips for Students with Autism

Adapted from: P. Kluth (2010). “You’re Going to Love This Kid!”: Teaching Students with Autism in the Inclusive Classroom (Rev. ed.). Baltimore: Brookes.

This article is from the website of Dr. Paula Kluth. It, along with many others on inclusive schooling, differentiated instruction, and literacy can be found at www.PaulaKluth.com. Visit now to read her Tip of the Day, read dozens of free articles, and learn more about supporting diverse learners in K-12 classrooms.

For many learners with autism, transitions are the toughest part of schooling. Moving from classroom to classroom or teacher to teacher can be stressful enough, but moving from building to building is almost always a process filled with anxiety and trepidation. These four strategies are designed to prepare the learner with autism for a new school or a new schooling experience and can be used days or months before the student arrives as well as throughout the school year.

School Preview

Many students with autism will profit from seeing, experiencing, and learning about the school before they show up on the first day. This is an effective strategy for students who are changing schools or for those who will be going to a certain classroom for the first time. A student can pre-view the school using many different tools. Some learners might appreciate a videotape of the school and its rooms, complete with short interviews with his new teachers. Other students like to tour the school themselves and meet teachers face to face before school officially starts. Still others may want to hear siblings, parents, or friends tell them about the school. Students may also be interested in reviewing brochures of the school, newsletters from the previous year, and/or the school’s website (if one exists).


Before the year begins or during the first few days of school, many teachers ask students and their families to complete a survey. The purpose of this tool is to help the teacher become more personally acquainted with students and to make an immediate connection with families. Some teachers may choose to administer different surveys to students and parents while other teachers may design a survey that families and students complete together. While a survey would undoubtedly help a teacher learn more about his student with autism, many teachers choose to use surveys with every student in the class.

When considering using a survey, teachers will want to focus on learning styles, interests, needs, strengths or even on student ideas for the classroom. Although questions will vary by age group, possible questions include:

  • How do you learn best?
  • What hobbies do you have?
  • What scares or upsets you?
  • What kind of expertise do you have (e.g., skateboarding, karate, collecting bugs, drawing)?
  • What do you need to be comfortable in my classroom?
  • What do you want to learn this year?
  • What is your least favorite part of the school day?
  • What is your favorite part of the school day?

If one or more students cannot write, the teacher, parent or support person can allow learners to submit visual surveys. Students might draw pictures, create a collage, or submit photographs or a video in response to the survey questions.

Routines and Schedules

Some students will profit from the development and implementation of written schedules, picture calendars, or the use of a daily planner. As one of my former students explained to me: “School is very stimulating and a lot of noises and disorganization for me. So I need to get used to new places and have a schedule”. Teachers should talk often to students about how time will be used in the classroom. They should also try to give students with autism as much warning as possible when they are going to alter the class schedule or when a substitute will be teaching the class.

All students in a given classroom may benefit from knowing more about the schedule. Having information about what content will be taught and what activities will take place in any given day or week can help any student become a better planner and time manager. Teachers can make going over the daily schedule a regular part of the daily routine in any classroom; even taking a few seconds to review this information can make a difference in the learning of some students.

Personal Portfolio

Students who have unique needs and abilities may want to introduce themselves to a teacher through the use of a portfolio. Portfolios may include photographs, artwork, writing or schoolwork samples, lists of favorite things, or even video or audiotapes.

A portfolio can be an especially helpful tool for students who do not speak or use a reliable communication system. I worked with one young man, J.D., to assemble a portfolio he would use as he transitioned from high school to the work place. This young man did not speak and those who met him for the first time often struggled to connect with him. When his teachers first accompanied him to his new school, J.D.’s peers began asking them questions about him: Did he understand them? Did he have any interests?

The teachers decided that J.D. needed a way to represent himself so that they didn’t need to serve as his voice and liaison. In order to facilitate this process the teachers worked with J.D. to create a portfolio that he could use to introduce himself to new people and to interact with those he already knew. J.D.’s portfolio included:

Four pages of photographs (J.D. with family and friends; snapshots of him playing soccer at a community park; J.D. working with peers on a biology experiment, vacation photos from the Rock and Roll Museum in Ohio)

  • A short “resume” outlining some of the classes he took in middle school
  • A list of his favorite movies and compact discs
  • A “Learning About Autism” pamphlet J.D. got at a conference
  • A glossy picture of the Green Bay Packers, J.D.’s favorite football team
  • Portfolios can be in paper, audio, or video form, formal or informal, a few pages or dozens of pages, include only current information and artifacts or serve as a cumulative record of the student’s life.


More Resources from Paula Kluth: