What can I do to help my child adjust to high school with his learning disabilities?
High school. The mere mention of this institution can cause fear to rise in the hearts of the strongest, most successful middle-schoolers. High school can be a time of physical growth and self-discovery. However, for many students it can be a time of physical and emotional brutality and self-destruction. Adding learning and developmental disabilities just intensifies the chance for negative experiences.
Social situations during the high school years can literally make or break a student. Everyone wants to be liked, to fit in with the crowd, to have lots of friends, and to have social success. For teens with Asperger’s Syndrome, the lack of social awareness and abilities can make the high school years extremely difficult. What can you do to help your teen with Asperger’s Syndrome achieve success during high school? Here are a few helpful suggestions.
- Plan ahead for the high school years by working on the social skills he needs. Social skills training can begin during the elementary school years and continue on through the middle school years. The more chances your child gets to practice socialization in a wide variety of situations, the better off he will be when he reaches the high school years.
- Like strong social skills training, additional strong IEP goals that focus on your child’s strengths and weaknesses can help him to grow in all areas. Research IEP goals so you can be prepared to offer specific suggestions during your child’s IEP meetings.
- Prepare your student for success by teaching strong organizational skills. Teach your child to use written schedules and to practice good time management. A daily study routine can also help. These are skills that we take for granted-skills that do not come naturally for kids with Asperger’s Syndrome.
- Educate yourself by reading books that can give ideas for coping and helping with your child’s weaknesses. Staying in the Game: Providing Social Opportunities for Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Other Developmental Disabilities by James W. Loomis, Ph.D. is just one example.
In most cases, you will find school administrators are eager to accommodate students with special needs. It is the law in most places, as you know. A strong team made up of parents, therapists, school admin, sped educators, and medical professionals can help your teen make the adjustments needed to find success in the high school setting.