If your child has autism, it's important to have them be in a classroom that welcomes them.
It's also important that they get the support and services they need to make it work for them.
Why is preschool important for kids with autism?
School Readiness — Helps them get ready for kindergarten, get used to a schedule, etc.
Builds social skills — Gives them a chance to interact with peers, practice sharing, etc.
Helps practice developmental skills — Language, motor skills, emotional interactions
More "eyes on your child" — Teachers have experience with all kinds of kids and can help monitor your child's progress.
How can I get ready for preschool?
Schedule a Transition Planning Meeting with your EarlySteps Team.
Do this as soon as possible - at least 90 days before your child's third birthday. This will decide next steps in transitioning your child to preschool
With your EarlySteps team, schedule a meeting with your public school district.
Map out the Special Education Services your child might be able to get after EarlySteps.
Plan to visit the preschool programs you are considering.
See if you can have your child join in and try out some of the activities.
Set aside extra time to focus on this process, if you can.
There will be meetings and evaluations to do.
Talk to other parents.
Many of them have been through this process already, and are willing to help you.
To learn about how kids with disabilities can be included in preschool programs, click on this helpful brochure: Early Childhood Inclusion: For ALL Children in Louisiana. (It will open in a new tab on your computer)
It might be that your child needs a school that is more specialized. The EMERGE Center in Baton Rouge has specialized pre-school and kindergarten programs for kids with ASD and other developmental challenges. Call them at 225-343-4232 or click on the title to open the website. (It will open in a new tab on your screen.)
Every child has a right to a free public education that meets their unique needs. It's the law.