Small changes in schedules or environment can be difficult to handle for children with autism. Moving to a new house and perhaps a new city with a new school is no small change and can be very traumatic for a child with autism. Regardless, sometimes a move to a new house or a new city becomes necessary when life takes a turn like when a parent changes jobs or gets transferred. Some parents find the need to downsize to save money or upsize to accommodate a growing family. Other parents might risk a short-term disruption for better schooling, or to get closer to family for extra support. Others might want to reduce commuting time, so they can spend more time with their children. And, some moves are caused by a change in marital status. These are all valid reasons and many are unavoidable. Whatever the reason, when a move is necessary, make the transition as smooth as possible for your child by pre-planning and preparing. Picture social stories are a great tool to use to prepare your child for any new experience including a traumatic move to a new house.
We are currently using this autism social story to prepare a wonderful child, who happens to have autism, for a move to a new house. For the purposes of this post, we are going to call him Homer.
To save commuting time and money, Homer’s parents needed to downsize their home and move closer to family and Homer’s support team. Although the move was only 40 miles, it was an agonizing decision to make because change is not easy for Homer. Regardless, they decided that the longterm benefits would outweigh the short term adjustment issues.
Homer’s parents expressed their concerns to us at Kidmunicate, so we recommended that they use a social story to help prepare Homer. We created “Preparing to Move to a New House” for Homer and all children with autism who need to move from one house to another.
Contact the school and let them know about your child’s needs.
Share the IEP with the school.
Tour the new school with your child before school starts.
TRY TO RELAX
Moving will be stressful for you too, but try to relax and even enjoy the adventure.
This will send a signal to your child that everything is going to be OK.
There are many twists and turns on the path of life and some require a move to a new house across town or across states. Parents of children with autism try to avoid change, but change is inescapable sometimes. A move is a really big change and can be a traumatic experience for a child with autism. The key to a successful move is preparation and this social story can be the first step in that process.
Many thanks to Pam Drennen and Kidmunicate for their kind permission for the use of this article.