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School Tip: Organization is the Name of the Game
By Christy McMillen, B.S.Ed

We all struggle when something arises that is out of the ordinary or strays from the norm. Kids are no different. Many times kids with autism flourish when they have consistent, organized schedules and routines. Part of having a consistent routine is knowing where your things are. Sounds simple, right? That’s because it is. Sometimes, though, as humans, we let life get the best of us. We complain about the hectic mornings we have to endure or the missing shoe that made us late for school or work. Sure, sometimes things come up and changes are inevitable, but keeping organized often helps to offset the daily bumps we may encounter. Although teaching our children with behavioral challenges or autism about flexibility is certainly important, keeping a consistent, organized schedule is the key to a successful school year.

Keeping your child’s things in a consistent place in an organized manner such as tote drawers, in baskets, or hanging on hooks will make both the evening and morning routines go smoothly and help to avoid meltdowns due to missing items. Gathering snacks, water bottles, clothing items, and homework the night before is also a must for success. Knowing where your child’s things are goes a long way when running out the door in the morning to catch the school bus. Get into the habit of checking your child’s backpack and folders each evening several hours before bedtime so that all paperwork and homework can be ready for the morning. Your child, no matter his or her age, will learn quickly where to find their own items and will have them ready independently within days of getting organized.

Sometimes intentions are good at the start of the school year, but those intentions are lost as the year progresses. Taking 10 minutes a week to reassess, reorganize, and make any necessary adjustments will help you return to the consistent routine that promotes the success we want to see in our children’s daily lives and routines. Mornings don’t have to mean meltdowns and lost shoes anymore.

Christy McMillen is a Middle School Special Ed Emotional Support Teacher at New Story. New Story’s private licensed schools offer an academic learning environment and multiple therapeutic services to help students achieve success while dealing with emotional, educational and behavioral challenges. For more information on New Story, call (877) 622-7245 or visit the website www.newstory.com.

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