Are you doing all that you can do to be an advocate for you child with autism at the start of the school year? Create an “All About Me” written portrait of your child to share with the school staff! This is a fun project that will help the school staff learn more about your child while letting them know that you are an active, involved, committed parent. Parents often find that by going through this process, they can organize their knowledge and concern about their children and advocate for them more effectively.
To personalize this document, it should be created as though your child is writing it themselves in the first person. Share a photo of your child at the top of the page with a “Hi, my name is _____”. Next you will want to share some other basic information including their age, grade, family members and hometown.
Below is an example of other important and relevant information that you may want to include. It’s important that you add several examples in each category if that helps to represent your child more thoroughly, I recommend that your examples be added in bullet point form below each category so it will read as concisely as possible (teachers are busy people and they will appreciate it!) Other pertinent information may include the following topics below (I have included a few examples in parenthesis to help you start thinking!):
- Words people might use to describe me… (i.e. active, happy, curious, sweet)
- Things people might say about me… (i.e. he gets excited about things he likes, she loves to cuddle)
- Things I love to do… (i.e. playing with trains, reading books, swing, climb)
- My favorite things include… (i.e. sand, animals, space ships)
- Things I may do for others or in social situations… (i.e. try to join in, watch from the sidelines, tidy up if asked or reminded)
- My challenges can include… (i.e. stopping an activity I enjoy doing a lot, stubborn, communicating my needs effectively)
- Things I do not like… (i.e. lots of talking, crowded spaces, losing a game, making mistakes)
- Things that make me anxious or scared…(i.e. loud noises, people touching me suddenly, when I don’t understand the rules)
- I can get angry when… (i.e. someone takes my favorite toy away or turns off the computer)
- My best forms of communication are … (i.e. showing what I want, using my iPad app, telling you directly though I might not always be clear)
- I need some to support me when … (i.e. my school work is too hard and I don’t understand, when it’s time to transition to a busy area, at recess when there is lots of uncertainty)
- When I get anxious or stressed I may show these signs… (i.e. covering my ears with my hands, making lots of noises, becoming more oppositional)
- Strategies that usually work for me when I am stressed might be… (i.e. demonstrating what is to be expected, leaving the busy overwhelming environment and going to a quiet spot)
- And finally, what you really should know about me… (i.e. I’m a great kid, I may need extra time to process transitions but if granted the time, can often ease into the new situation, forcing me doesn’t help)
Remember, we want our children’s teachers and the school staff to know who are child is and that they are a unique individual. Take the time to work on this project together with your child and start the new school year off right! If you missed my last blog post on how to help ease the transition back into the classroom this year, go here to read it.
Looking for more? We are starting online parent training classes this fall! For the parent who want to build a stronger relationship with their chid with autism, find out more here.