Getting Your Child with Sensory Issues Ready for School

Therapies and Resources for Children with Autism & Families

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Going back to school can present problems for your child with sensory issues. If your child is attending school for the first time, school presents a new environment that can be uncomfortable and overwhelming. With so many new things going on, there is a lot of stimulation that your child is experiencing. For a child that’s going back to school, these same things can happen. Although they may be familiar with the school itself, they are likely going to be in a different and unfamiliar classroom. At Peak Potential Therapy, we know that all of these things can be difficult for a child who has sensory issues. Here are our tips for back-to-school success:

• Make sure back-to-school outfits are comfortable.
You probably know what clothing in which your child with sensory problems feels most comfortable. Make sure that when the time comes to purchase new outfits for school you are taking into consideration what your child will feel comfortable in. New clothing trends may present clothing that’s different from what your child is used to. If your child wants to try these new clothes, make sure you do a test run before your child will be stuck at school all day.

• Test school supplies
Certain pencils, pens, crayons, and other writing implements may not feel good to your child when they are holding them and working with them all day. So, after you buy new school supplies, have your child test out the supplies at home to see what works for them and what does not.

• Visit the classroom.
A new and unfamiliar environment can overload your child’s senses. If your school offers an open house before school starts, take your child to it. They can start becoming familiar with the new environment that they will be situated in for the duration of the year. It will be great for them to experience it before the first day of school and they may feel better having someone they are comfortable with, like a parent, with them.

• Pack snacks and lunch.
Don’t take the risk of having your child eat school lunches if your child doesn’t like certain food textures. You know the types of food that your child likes to eat, and although it may take some extra time, send your child to school with food that you know they will like.

• Send birthday snacks.
Similar to the previous point, if your child doesn’t like certain food textures, it may be best to send them with snacks that they enjoy when there are classroom birthday celebrations. By having their own snack, your child will feel comfortable eating it and still feel included in the celebration of the rest of the class. You may want to try to find out when birthdays will be celebrated, or you can send in a non-perishable food item for the teacher to keep in the classroom for when celebrations occur.

• Check the backpack.
A heavy backpack can weigh down on your child with sensory issues. Different strap styles and fabrics that rub on his or her shoulders, neck, arms and back may feel bad on your child’s skin. So, before you send them to school, try having your child walk around with their backpack filled with different items to try to replicate the weight that they may experience in school. If the weight is too much or the fabric is uncomfortable, consider getting a backpack that rolls on the floor.

Before you send your child with sensory issues back to school, try some of these tips They just might make the back-to-school adjustment a little bit easier. Here at Peak Potential Therapy, we wish you and your child the best as you embark on a new school year. If there is anything we can do to help, please reach out. And, if you’re looking for more tips for your child with autism or sensory issues, check out our other blog posts.

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