Children with autism often need specialized care and careful treatment in order to adapt to their environment. Preschool classes are one way that many are learning important life lessons. However, it may not be right for every child with autism. Assessing your child's abilities can help you decide if preschool is right for their needs.
Assessing The Unique Needs Of The Preschooler
Autism is a unique disease because it affects each child in different ways. One child with autism may be able to communicate quite well verbally with their peers. Others may struggle or be unable to talk in this way. Likewise, some may be adaptable to a preschool situation and quickly learn to interact with their peers. However, others may have a hard time interacting without problematic behaviors.
In most instances, a child with autism should be able to adapt to a preschool situation. That said, there are extreme cases in which a child may not have the skills necessary to join a class. It is important to talk to their doctor before making any decisions regarding preschool and to take steps that improve their ability to learn from preschool. The many benefits it offers a child with autism are too great to ignore.
Ways Preschool Can Help
Preschool is a powerful way to introduce your child with autism to the unique demands of an educational setting. For example, they can get acclimated to spending time with other children, learn proper interaction methods, learn the basics of their later education, and adapt to new environments in a safe way.
The supportive environment of a preschool is often a great place for a child with autism to learn how to adapt to their personal difficulties. They can also be a great way for a parent to take a break from their child and to help them learn to trust others in their care of their child with autism.
Managing A Problematic Reaction
While preschool can be a beneficial way for a child with autism to learn appropriate behaviors, there is a chance that they may react negatively to it. That's why it is important to spot signs that the child is having a difficult experience and to manage the situation quickly. While a child with autism will vary in their negative symptoms, these often include biting, motor stimulation, and personal isolation.
Managing these behaviors requires adapting to the child's unique needs and helping them calm down. Find out what is bothering them about the situation and eliminate that concern. For example, many autistic children get easily overstimulated by loud music. If a child in preschool gets agitated during song time, it might be a good idea to have the teacher place them in a separate part of the classroom during this period.
While these isolating actions may seem to defeat the purpose of preschool, they can help a child with autism more easily adapt to a new situation. While it may take them awhile to learn these lessons, most children with autism are intelligent and adaptable enough to eventually fit in with their peers.