Deciding if our children with autism are ready for kindergarten is one of the most delicate subjects of our children’s educational lives. As autism parents, we know all too well the developmental milestones our children are still working on in relation to their same age peers. Our children may not be at age appropriate in language development, social skills, fine motor or large motor skills. We know we need to work at their developmental level for them to be successful and make the most progress. But how do we assess kindergarten readiness in a child with autism?
Is my child kindergarten ready?
You should be looking for balance in skill level when assessing whether a child is ready for formal lessons or not. Some skills will be age appropriate and some won’t be even close. You’re looking for a balance in skills to work on versus those already achieved. No one wants to attempt something where they won’t be remotely successful. Also, remember that play is learning. Therapy goals may need achieving before actual educational goals can be set.
What skills are needed for kindergarten?
You need your child to be learning ready, open to trying new things, starting to get some sense of self and independence, the ability to follow simple directions with guidance, and working on language skills to express ideas or feelings. Since your child isn’t going to a brick and mortar school , you don’t need to work on self soothing or worry about separation anxiety issue. Don’t worry if your child isn’t there yet in all levels. You can start slow in order to ease into it.
What should my child know after completing kindergarten?
Knowing basics about yourself such as age, boy or girl, draw yourself, who is in your family, toileting needs, and independence with some dressing skills are nice but not necessary for homeschooling. Having a child who is showing some interests in learning to read or trying new things is all your really looking for to start formal lessons.
Able to cut with scissors ,uses a glue stick, can write first name or letters, tries to skip hop and jump, imitation of motor skills, independence with some dressing skills, open and close backpack and toileting skills independently are skills you can address while your child is in kindergarten.
He/she knows basic colors, can identify shapes, knows letters in their first name, recognize uppercase letters, recognized lowercase letters, is beginning to count in order, able to count objects up to five , place pictures in order of occurrence, complete a sequence or pattern and how to follow two step directions. Don’t panic if your child isn’t close to achieving those items. Pick some therapy goals to work on consistently.
How can you assess kindergarten readiness in a child with autism?
Download a copy of the Readiness Assessment for Kindergarten. It is not written as an absolute nor guidelines to prepare or drill your child. Just a glimpse into readiness skills that an educator may be looking at. It will not evaluate developmental disabilities or any diagnosis. It will give you a starting point to know what skills to work on with your child. Remember that these are good for kindergarteners entering the public school system. The beauty of homeschooling is that you don’t need to necessarily teach all of them.
Should my child repeat kindergarten?
I think it is important as a parent to focus on what your child has accomplished, where they need to grow and how are we jointly, with their therapist, best able to achieve these goals. One of the best parts of homeschooling is that your child doesn’t have to work on grade level for all things. Determine where your child is at and work from there. Remember even slow progress is still progress. You don’t need to look at it as repeating kindergarten. Just keep making progress.
Want to learn about homeschooling autism from kindergarten through high school? Click the picture to go to our ebook!