AARC Tip of the Month | August 2018
Building Independence into Back-to-School Prep

It’s time to head back to school! This time can be exciting, but it can also be an overwhelming transition. Here are some tips to ease the transition and set your child up for independence in their new routine:

  • Talk to your child about how the schedule is going to change. Work with them to build daily routines for when school starts. Use social stories if necessary, and give them plenty of advance warning to process the change. Be positive so they are positive!

  • If your child is changing schools or teachers, schedule a visit with the new school and/or teacher so that your child understands the change that is going to happen. For schools that have a multi-period day, talk to the teachers about what the schedule will look like, and walk with your child around the building to become familiarized with the environment.
  • You can build independence through packing lunch! Here's how one mom promoted independence for her child: Place types of food in individual portions in bins. Put a number on the outside for how many items your child can choose for each bin. This allows nutritional control by the parent, but allows your child to feel independent in packing their lunch. Once the routine is taught, it will also free up your mornings for more quality time or accomplishing necessary tasks!
  • Use visuals and checklists to promote independence. These are a great opportunity to teach life skills. The more your child can do on their own, the less you have to do for them! Examples include:
  • Getting dressed
  • Morning/Bedtime routine
  • Chores/Homework
Books of the Month:
The books of the month are available in the Special Education Service Agency (SESA) Library. Search for books on the   SESA website , or contact the librarian, Anne Freitag, at   afreitag@sesa.org   or 907-334-1301 

Electronic books may be accessed from anywhere in the state. If you've used our ebooks before,   go to the login  page here.  If you haven't, please contact Anne so she can set up a username and password for you.   Learn more about ebooks here .
Freeing Your Child from Anxiety: Powerful, practical strategies to overcome your child's fears, phobias, and worries
By: Tamara E. Chansky
Illustrations by: Phillip Stern
Broadway Books, 2004
ISBN: 9780767914925
Description: Anxiety is the number one mental health problem facing young people today. Childhood should be a happy and carefree time, yet more and more children today are exhibiting symptoms of anxiety, from bedwetting and clinginess to frequent stomach aches, nightmares, and even refusing to go to school. Parents everywhere want to know: All children have fears, but how much is normal? How can you know when a stress has crossed over into a full-blown anxiety disorder? Most parents don’t know how to recognize when there is a real problem and how to deal with it when there is. In this book, a childhood anxiety disorder specialist examines all manifestations of childhood fears, including social anxiety, Tourette’s Syndrome, hair-pulling, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and guides you through a proven program to help your child back to emotional safety. No child is immune from the effects of stress in today’s media-saturated society. Fortunately, anxiety disorders are treatable. By following these simple solutions, parents can prevent their children from needlessly suffering today -- and tomorrow.
The impulsive, Disorganized Child: Solutions for parenting kids with executive functioning difficulties
By: James W. Forgan, Ph. D., & Mary Anne Richey
Prufrock Press Inc., 2015
ISBN: 9781618214010
Description: "Impulsive, scattered, lost, unfocused, unprepared, disorganized: These are just a few of the words used to describe kids with executive functioning deficits, which commonly affect many children already diagnosed with ADHD, learning disabilities, and autism. ... helps parents pinpoint weak executive functions in their children, then learn how to help their kids overcome these deficits with practical, easy solutions. Children who can't select, plan, initiate, or sustain action toward their goals are children who simply struggle to succeed in school and other aspects of life. Parents need the helpful, proven advice and interactive surveys and action plans in this book to empower them to take positive action to teach their disorganized, impulsive child to achieve independence, success, and a level of self-support." - Publisher's website
School Readiness and Social-Emotional Development: Perspectives on cultural diversity
Editors: Barbara Bowman & Evelyn K. Moore
National Black Child Development Institute, 2006
Contents: NBCDI Social-Emotional Development Project/Evelyn K. Moore - School readiness and social-emotional development/Barbara Bowman - Teacher-child relationships, social-emotional development, and school achievement/Aisha Ray, Barbara Bowman, and Jeanine O'Nan Brownell - Leveraging diversity to benefit children's social-emotional development and school readiness/Carol Brunson Day - Social, cultural, and linguistic features of school readiness in young Latino children/Linda M. Espinosa - Resilience: preparing children for school/Barbara Bowman - Research methods and issues for the study of African American children and school achievement/Dolores G. Norton - ABLE: a system for mental health screening and care for preschool children/Oscar A. Barbarin - Social and emotional development in the zero-to-three child: a systems change approach/Melinda Green.
I Go to School: An interactive reading book
By: Joan Green
Illustrated by: Linda Comerford
Greenhouse Publications, 2000
Description: Designed to be used for pre-reading skills at many levels, including with special education children. Students move and attach picture cards with hook and loop fasteners to match, identify, label, sequence, and create sentences while learning to read.
What Do I Do? An interactive reading book about appropriate school behaviors
By: Joan Green
Illustrated by: Linda Comerford
Greenhouse Publications, 2000
Description: Designed to be used for pre-reading skills at many levels, including with special education children. Students move and attach picture cards with hook and loop fasteners to match, identify, and label pictures and answer questions about appropriate school behaviors.
Stepwise Lunch Cookbook
By: Beth Jackson
Therapro, 1998
Description: Uses the Mayer-Johnson symbols to demonstrate simple cookery.
Successful Social Stories for School and College Students with Autism: Growing up with social stories
By: Dr. Siobhan Timmins
Foreword by: Carol Gray
Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2017
ISBN: 9781785921377
Description: "As children grow up and spend more and more time away from home in schools and colleges, life often seems to get increasingly complicated. Autism makes the challenges they meet in these new environments even more difficult to navigate. Social Stories™ is a highly regarded strategy that parents and teachers can use to help young people with autism understand the new social situations they face during this time. Writing an effective Story takes a special set of skills, and in this fully illustrated book Dr Siobhan Timmins explains how to acquire and hone these techniques and put them into practice.

Following on from her book on writing Social Stories™ for young children, this book on the next age group up includes 160 illustrations and clear examples based on the author's own experiences of raising a son with autism. She explains how to identify the underlying issues, and articulate the key ideas so that young learners can find connections between Stories to build a greater understanding of relationships, the adult world and their own identity. The book is an invaluable guide to creating bridges between young people and the parts of life they find most difficult." - Publisher's website
Alaska Autism Resource Center | 866-301-7372 | aarc@sesa.org | www.AlaskaARC.org