Helping Your Child with Autism Get Ready for the School Bus

Guest Authored By Kendall P, B.S., RBT

Summer has passed and the school year crept up on us, once again! Some families out there have kiddos that are eager to start their first day of school and some little ones cannot relate, it can be nerve wracking! One of the challenges with beginning school for the first time can be riding the school bus. 

Whether your child has Autism or not, taking time to prepare them for the school bus can make their transition go a little more smoothly. Some challenges that children with Autism might face when riding a school bus can stem from having to listen to the bus driver, follow bus rules (which are different than a classroom, so that can be confusing), sitting next to students in a small space, and the noisiness of a bunch of kids in one vehicle. All of these reasons can be overwhelming for a child with ASD and I have some tips to help manage those challenges and prevent fear or problem behaviors. Start by sitting down and talking to them about what typically can happen while riding a school bus. Bring up scenarios and ways to react when something unexpected might happen. Teaching stories are a great way to prepare your child for something they have never experienced before. It provides visuals and a kid friendly use of vocabulary to describe situations that are a little more complex. Children with Autism can be overwhelmed from a sensory standpoint, so describing the features and environment of a school bus can be helpful. Figure out the way your child responds to senses of light, sound, touch, pain, and balance, and accommodate to those sensory needs. For example, headphones or fidgets can cater to overstimulation and reduce stress while riding the bus. Also, make it clear to your child that you will be there for them at the end of the day, so they can expect to make it home safe and sound! 

Depending on the type of school bus your child rides, there can always be accommodations when working with the staff and school system. Schools also might offer trial runs, which can be a great way to introduce the bus before the first day of school. Individualized Education Program Staff are your best source of help when looking for this type of accommodation. Lastly, do your best to have teachers, bus drivers, and even other children, get to know your child! School can be a scary place for some and having friendly faces and people looking out for your child can always be beneficial! 

Eyas Landing is a therapy clinic with a mission to provide evidence-based and family-centered therapy services for children, adolescents, and their families. The primary goal is to deliver relationship-based interventions within the most natural environments and to empower families to reach their full potential. To achieve this goal, our highly educated, compassionate staff dedicates time and expertise to create experiences that maximize therapeutic outcomes. The strength, determination, and perseverance of our clients are evident as they succeed in therapy, and ultimately in their daily lives.

Eyas Landing offers a wide range of comprehensive services including Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, ABA Therapy, Social Work, Family Therapy, and Neuropsych testing. Services are provided throughout the Chicagoland area via Telehealth, In-Home, and in our state of the art clinic.

Want to learn more or you have a specific question? Feel free to connect with us here!