If your child is preschool age, you should start researching activities for autistic children in kindergarten. Learning about kindergarten activities for children with autism can help you decide how to plan your child's education. You want to find kindergarten educational activities that help your child learn and address any developmental concerns.
The Transition to Kindergarten
The transition from preschool to kindergarten is a major step in the life of all children with and without autism. For kindergarten to be most successful for autistic children, the individual needs and developmental concerns of each child must be met.
The formal education of a kindergarten sometimes presents a challenge to some children with autism. Common concerns can include:
- Sensory issues
- Refusal to follow the teacher's directions
- Communication problems with other children
- Tantrums when the routine is interrupted
- Limited verbal skills
- Low attention span
Parents can work with therapists to improve areas of concern to help children work on any problem areas.
Inclusion or Special Education?
It is often difficult for parents of children with autism to decide between inclusion in public or private school or special education programs for kindergarten. The type of education you select depends upon your child's developmental needs and the educational resources available in your area.
Experts who support inclusion or educating autistic children alongside children without autism argue that many autistic children learn well from other children and will improve at a faster rate than in special education settings. Critics of inclusion claim that many teachers in inclusive classrooms are not trained well enough to deal with the special needs of autistic children.
Whether you choose private, homeschool or public education, your child has a legal right to an individual education program (IEP). The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires all American public school systems to provide a child with autism with an IEP, even if the child is educated outside of the public school system. Contact your public school district for more information and to schedule an IEP qualifying assessment.
When you are planning your child's education, research the local options, consult with autism support groups and seek advice from your child's therapist and doctor.
You can find more information about preparing your child for kindergarten and activities for autistic children in kindergarten at the following websites:
- Education: The Education site provides a helpful article about the transition to kindergarten from the Autism Society of America.
- Do2Learn: Do2Learn has free educational resources for picture cards, homeschool and alphabets helpers.
- Internet4classrooms: The site has a large selection of online kindergarten skill activities.
- Positively Autism: Positively Autism has a number of lessons suitable for kindergarten.
- Zac Browser: Zac Browser provides some kindergarten-age educational games designed specifically for children with autism.
Prepare for Success
Helping your child prepare for and thrive in kindergarten may be challenging. However, you can find the right options and activities for your child with research and a strong understanding of your child's needs.