Mainstreaming a Child with Autism

I have a son who is autistic and he will be going to kindergarten next year. How can I help him to have a smooth transition from his special needs preschool to a regular kindergarten class.

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One resource that you might look into is the Autism Society of America. Among other services, they offer information, education, and support for parents of autistic children. Through this organization, you may be able to locate other parents of autistic children who have been mainstreamed, as well as get information that you can pass on to your child's teacher.

A visit to the kindergarten classroom might also put your mind at ease. Make an appointment to visit and observe the class(es) that your child may be in next year. Watching the classroom activities will give you a feel for the routine and tone of the class, which may help you to prepare your son. When you find out which teacher your child will be assigned to, make an appointment to talk with her about your son and his needs. Your son may also benefit from a visit to the classroom prior to starting kindergarten so that it won't seem like a strange place to him on the first day of school.

Your child's current teacher is also a valuable resource for you. Ask her for suggestions as to how to best assimilate your child to this new environment. Chances are that she has been through this before and will have some good ideas for you.

Think about the ways in which you have prepared your son for other events or changes in his life. Adapt those strategies to help him adjust easily to his new kindergarten class.

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