There are many ways grandparents can help to ensure a great start for the new school year for their grandchildren
Back to School Tips
You can help to reinforce good life skills to increase your grandchild’s independence at home, at school and in the community. Using checklists with words and pictures to post throughout the house may be helpful to remind them to complete tasks. These brief videos may also be useful for teaching some skills.
If You Live Nearby
- Walk or drive with your grandchild to their school to acclimate them to the route.
- If possible, offer to bring your grandchildren to school or to take them to after school activities.
- Tour the school and familiarize your grandchild with the new setting (gym, library, bathrooms, cafeteria). You can even create a social story by taking pictures throughout the tour.
- Offer to volunteer or support the school’s fundraising effort
Grandparents who are not local can use FaceTime or Zoom to learn about their grandchildren’s school experiences and to encourage their efforts.
School Supplies are Always Welcome
Grandparents can help by shopping for or “gifting” school supplies now and throughout the school year. Placing orders online is particularly convenient. Resources like Amazon and school or office supply sites are competitive in pricing. You can find discounted school supplies at dollar stores, Walmart and Target. USA Today featured this article 12 Awesome School Supplies for Kids with Autism.
As the school year begins, grandchildren will likely need new clothing.
- 16 Sensory-Smart Clothing Brands without Tags or Seams
- Target: the Cat & Jack brand
- ShopThuasne for seamless garments
- Sensory-Friendly Kids Clothing: Collections – Sense-ational You (shopsenseationalyou.com)
- Adaptive Denim Brand: Adaptive (seven7jeans.com)
- Shoe Options: Zappos Adaptive | Zappos.com
- Search Google for additional “adaptive clothing” options
Preparing Meals and Snacks Together
Always check with your grandchild’s parents before offering any food to ensure that there are no dietary restrictions. When planning, shopping and preparing meals together, try to include at least one of their favorite foods in every meal. Introduce new foods slowly. Your grandchild may look at, smell or just lick the food before they are comfortable tasting it. Be patient and let them see you enjoying eating the food, too.
Here are some healthy options.
- Fresh apple or banana slices with peanut butter dip
- Fruit smoothies
- Mandarin oranges
- Dried fruit
- Crackers or chips with Hummus
- Fresh vegetables cut in sticks
- String cheese
Additional snack ideas and recipes to prepare together can be found here.
Offer to make and update a Care Notebook to organize emergency, medical, school and therapy records. By having updated information available, your family will be better prepared for emergencies, doctor appointments, school conferences and insurance claims. It makes a great personal gift for the upcoming holidays!
Recommended TV Shows
Atypical is a mature, uplifting TV show that follows Sam, an 18-year-old man with autism. Viewers watch as Sam progresses through new independence and life’s challenges throughout the season. This show can be found on Netflix.
Young Sheldon is a heartwarming and humorous prequel to the TV show, The Big Bang Theory. Viewers watch nine-year-old Sheldon progress through life from early childhood to high school. The show focuses on friendships, family, and school. It can be viewed on Netflix.
Loop is Pixar’s newest wholesome, animated short that focuses on a young boy and girl. The young boy is neurotypical, while the girl has autism. Both characters develop a friendship while canoeing around a city lake throughout the story. It can be viewed on Disney Plus.
After high school, finding an appropriate program or college may be challenging. The following sites have helpful information.
Think College: This outlet offers resources for families and students to understand the different aspects of college, such as preparing for college, program development, and how to find peer mentors. The website also includes a databaseto help students find what college will help support their intellectual disability. LEARN MORE
Educational Opportunities Guide: Autism Speaks offers an in-depth guide to assist families on how to navigate the different paths following high school, such as community colleges, life skills programs, and four-year universities. LEARN MORE
Employment Tool Kit: Autism Speaks provides a guide that includes tips, information and job-related stories for autistic adults seeking employment. The guide offers sample applications, resumes and details about job interviews. LEARN MORE
Prepare Now for the Upcoming Holidays
It’s not too soon to begin preparing for the holiday season. You will find some suggestions on our website here.