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Return to school for children with autism

Kosita Musabye, autism spectrum disorder consultant with McMaster Children’s Hospital at the Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre

If your child has autism, preparing them to return to school may require unusual steps due to COVID-19.

First, figure out what your child may be worried about, and what they understand about going to school this year.

Reassure your child

Tell your child that there will be COVID-19 rules at school and reassure them that they will get help when they need it.

Contact your child’s school before school starts and discuss a plan for their transition to school.

Get information about what’s in place regarding plans for reopening and schedules.

New rules and signage

If possible, arrange to visit the school and take pictures of the new look. This will help your child to get familiar with new signage and what it means.

Schools will have COVID-19 rules about physical distancing from peers and teachers, standing in line in designated spots, washing hands and using hand sanitizer, and not sharing toys and school materials.

Additional video resources

Does your child tolerate wearing a mask and seeing others wear masks? If not, please consider watching our video on teaching mask-wearing to children with autism.

Does your child understand physical distancing? If not, please consider watching our video on teaching physical distancing to children with autism.

We also have a video about hand washing and hand sanitizing for children with autism.

We know how important going to school is for children with autism and their families. We are here to support you.