As with all children entering primary school there is an expectation that they have a degree of independence and that they can take responsibility for managing themselves and simple work tasks. Your child with and Autism Spectrum Disorder(ASD) will develop skills over time but may need more opportunities to practice specific skills before they become intuitive. Some children with ASD could have an associated learning difficulty such as an Intellectual Disability(ID) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD) and these disabilities could further delay the development of personal skills and your child’s ability to manage the expectations of school. The following are skill development areas that can help your child to learn and prepare for the future.
Skills to encourage: Fastening a zipper from the bottom eg. on a jacket, pulling up a zipper on pants, sliding a zipper on a school bag; can button and unbutton clothing; can remove and insert a straw on a drink pack; can open food packages; can undo and do up a drink bottle lid.
Directions and positioning
Skills to encourage: Identify left and right; shoes may need to come off and go back on, on muddy school days; change shoes for sports activities; writing name at the top right of the page; sit at the front of the class, go to the back of the line, stand beside me.
Skills to encourage: Locating the correct toilets- girls / boys, identifies EXIT signs, emergency assembly points.
Skills to encourage: Wipes or blows nose and disposes of tissues, covers mouth when coughing, covers nose when sneezing, is independent in using the toilet.
Follow school rules
Skills to encourage: Can stand in a line when asked to; understands the need to work by themselves and with others when directed, completes homework tasks, understands the need to stop a task even when they may not want to.
All the above skills can be taught during naturally occurring events in the day with your child. It is going to take longer for your child to develop some of these skills and others will develop more readily.