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Navigating School:
A Guide for Autistic Children

Starting school can be a big and exciting change in your life, but it can also bring feelings of anxiety, uncertainty, and confusion. However, you are not alone. Many children, including those with autism, experience these feelings when starting school. The good news is that with the right support and understanding, you can thrive in school and make the most of your educational experience.

In this page, we will discuss some of the feelings you may have, the gifts you may bring to the school environment, and tips on how to make the best of your school experience.

Feelings You May Have


Starting school can be overwhelming, and it's natural to feel nervous, scared, or even excited. Some children with autism may also feel overwhelmed by new sensory experiences or social situations. Here are some common feelings you may have and ways to cope with them:

  • Nervousness: You may feel nervous about starting school and meeting new people. To help cope with this feeling, try to focus on the things you are looking forward to, such as seeing your friends or learning new things. You can also bring a comfort item from home, such as a stuffed animal or a special toy, to help you feel more at ease.

  • Fear of the unknown: You may feel scared about the unknown, such as what the school environment will be like, who your teachers will be, or what you will learn. To help reduce this fear, talk to your parents or teacher about your concerns. They can give you more information and help you feel more comfortable.

  • Excitement: You may also feel excited about starting school and the new experiences and opportunities it will bring. To help make the most of this excitement, make a list of things you are looking forward to, such as joining a club or making new friends.

Gifts You May Bring to the School Environment


Autism is a unique and valuable part of who you are, and you bring many gifts to the school environment. Here are some gifts you may bring:

  • Creativity: You may have a unique and imaginative way of thinking, which can be an asset in school projects and activities.

  • Attention to detail: You may have a keen eye for detail, which can be helpful in subjects like science and math.

  • Strong memory: You may have a strong memory and the ability to remember facts and information, which can be helpful in subjects like history and geography.

  • Passion for a specific subject: You may have a strong interest in a particular subject, such as music or animals, which can be a source of motivation and engagement in school.

Different is OK


It's important to remember that everyone is unique, and it's okay to be different. You may notice that you do things differently than others, but that's what makes you special. Here are some tips for embracing your differences and feeling confident in who you are:

  • Focus on your strengths: Instead of worrying about what you can't do, focus on your strengths and what you can do well.

  • Surround yourself with positive people: Surround yourself with people who accept and appreciate you for who you are. This can include family members, friends, teachers, and others who support you.

  • Learn about autism: Take the time to learn about autism and how it affects you. This can help you understand your strengths, challenges, and how to advocate for yourself.

Tips for Making the Best of Your School Experience


Starting school can be a big adjustment, but with the right support and understanding, you can make the most of your educational experience. Here are some tips for navigating school as an autistic child:

  • Find a supportive teacher: Look for a teacher who understands autism and is supportive of your needs. This person can be a source of support and understanding throughout the school year.

  • Get organized: Create a routine and schedule that works for you, and use tools like a planner or calendar to keep track of assignments and appointments.

  • Ask for accommodations: If you need accommodations, such as extra time on tests or a quiet place to work, speak to your teacher or a school administrator. They can help you get the support you need to succeed.

  • Join clubs or activities: Participating in clubs or activities can be a great way to make friends, explore new interests, and have fun.

  • Practice self-care: Taking care of yourself is important for both your physical and emotional well-being. This can include eating well, getting enough sleep, and engaging in activities you enjoy.

  • Seek support: If you are feeling overwhelmed or need support, don't be afraid to reach out to your parents, teacher, or a school counselor. They can help you navigate difficult situations and provide support when you need it.

Final Words

Starting school can be challenging, but it can also be an exciting and rewarding experience. By understanding your feelings, gifts, and differences, and by following these tips, you can make the most of your school experience and succeed. Remember, you are not alone, and there are people who care about you and want to help you succeed.

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