Students on autism spectrum and their parents prepare for start of school year

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla - Starting a school year can be difficult for any student, but when you're a youngster on the autism spectrum, it can be even harder.

"It's different because usually they are very visual; they need a lot more preparation in starting the school year," said Beth Potter, a teacher at the Renaissance Learning Center for students on the spectrum.

"Some of them have great anxiety about starting a new school year," she said.

Many of those with autism  have their routines and don't like to see changes, whether it's a new teacher, new friends or a new setting.

"They need concrete things, this is going to happen, then this is going to happen, then this is going to happen," said Potter.

So before summer vacation is over, they have the children begin a new routine of touring the building, meeting the teacher and they create a picture schedule of a typical day.

Some experts even suggest parents wash their childrens' new school clothes a few times before children wear them so they feel comfortable.  What may seem an annoyance for others can be a major issue for those on the spectrum.

"I think there's a lot of anxiety, sometimes the classes, there's new kids, the loneliness, the change in schedule I think it takes them time to adjust," she said.
 


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