What are some ways that parents can help to promote their child with autism’s learning at school in Australia?
To promote learning at school for your child with autism in Australia, here are some effective strategies for parents:
- Establish open communication with the school: Foster regular and open communication with your child’s teachers, special education coordinators, and other school staff. Share information about your child’s strengths, challenges, interests, and learning style. Collaborate on strategies that support their learning.
- Develop an individualised education plan: Work closely with the school team to develop an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or a personalised learning plan. This plan should outline specific goals, accommodations, and strategies tailored to your child’s unique needs and learning style.
- Advocate for appropriate supports: Advocate for the necessary supports and accommodations that facilitate your child’s learning. This may include assistive technology, visual supports, preferential seating, additional time for assignments or tests, or other accommodations that address sensory, communication, or learning needs.
- Support social skills development: Collaborate with educators to promote your child’s social skills development. Encourage opportunities for social interactions, provide guidance on social expectations, and explore social skills groups or therapy options to support their social growth.
- Encourage sensory regulation strategies: Work with the school to identify and implement sensory regulation strategies that support your child’s ability to focus and learn. This may include creating sensory-friendly spaces, offering sensory breaks, or using sensory tools to help them self-regulate.
- Foster a positive home-school connection: Maintain a positive connection between home and school. Support your child’s learning by reinforcing concepts taught at school, assisting with homework, and staying engaged in their educational journey. Collaborate with teachers to understand the curriculum and reinforce learning at home.
- Promote inclusive opportunities: Advocate for inclusive opportunities for your child within the school environment. Encourage participation in extracurricular activities, clubs, and events that align with their interests. Support the development of friendships and social connections with peers.
- Seek additional resources and support: Explore additional resources and support services available within the community. This may include accessing therapies, support groups, or autism-specific organisations that offer educational resources, workshops, and guidance for parents.
- Monitor progress and provide feedback: Regularly monitor your child’s progress and provide feedback to the school. Attend parent-teacher conferences, review their work, and seek updates from school staff. This collaboration will help identify areas of growth, address challenges, and make necessary adjustments to support their learning.
- Foster a love for learning: Encourage a love for learning by engaging your child in activities that align with their interests and strengths. Provide opportunities for hands-on learning, exploration, and creativity. Celebrate their achievements and help them see the value and joy in acquiring knowledge.
Remember that each child with autism is unique, and strategies that work for one child may not work for another. Continuously assess and adjust educational strategies based on your child’s progress and changing needs. By actively engaging with the school, advocating for appropriate supports, and fostering a positive learning environment at home, parents can play a vital role in promoting their child’s learning at school in Australia.
Leanne Hopkins is an Occupational Therapist at Succeed Healthcare Solutions and is passionate about creating a world where families thrive. If you are a parent or carer who would like guidance with your child’s educational journey, please contact us and arrange a free 15-minute Discovery Interview to see how we can assist.