Moving from Preschool to KindergartenFollowing are some suggestions for parents to ensure a more successful and less stressful transition: Talk to the preschool teacher about how you can prepare your child for the new curricular/environmental demands of kindergarten. Parents can find their state Dept. of Educ. On the Internet or Autism Source (www.autismsource.org) and check the standards for kindergarten. This will show parents additional home instruction or practice. Web site, www.getreadytoread.org has a checklist about home support for early literacy development along with a screening test. Inform the Special Education director you are enrolling a child with special needs for elementary school. List the child’s special needs (such as challenges with understanding and/or using language, medical issues, etc.) A bulleted format makes it easier to notice each need and parents can provide more detail when preparing a file folder for the teacher. Notice given to the Special Education director may result in one or more assessments. You will receive a booklet about your rights under the federal law regarding Special Education Services. An IEP meeting will be scheduled to discuss your child’s needs, goals and school/classroom assignments. Parents will consider options and how to best accommodate specific needs. Be educated and prepared. If desired, bring someone more experienced with you as an advocate. During the meeting ask/find out: o If the special education program has an autism consultant o Who will provide support for your child’s school o Type of support offered and how to contact the person so they can assist the classroom teacher o When ASD training will be provided to appropriate staff As more children with ASD enter public schools, more people get trained. Training is offered after aids have been hired for term or may occur after school year has begun. Tour the school and meet the principal. The principal can talk about school rules, operations and how parents can be involved in the school. Accustom your child to the school playground before the transition.
Prepare a portfolio that contains easy-to-read information about your child. List strengths, challenges, likes, dislikes, supports needed (and why), along with specific strategies. Keep the portfolio short and simple. Give the folder to the child’s teacher and autism consultant. Look for children’s books and videos about starting a new school year. As the day approaches, contact the teacher and offer to help develop a picture schedule for the week. Inform the teacher a schedule will make things easier for everyone and enclose a sample schedule. Answer any questions anybody may have and find a time where you the teacher and the child can meet before school starts. Ask how you can support the teacher. Volunteer to provide training on ASD to the staff and other students, help on field trips, lent books, etc. Offer tips on how to handle specific situations with your child. It may take time for the school staff to realize you care about all the children and not just your own, and you want the school experience to be positive for everyone.*Materials provided by ASA Autism Society of America