I was curious, so I went to a school to observe recess for autistic children. You may have a concern, and ask the question, what is your autistic child doing during recess? I observed and watched the children, and was amazed how some of them felt isolated, excluded because they did not know how to socialize or take part in activities that were offered.
Recess was developed for children to have a special time to be with their peers, friends, socialize, release tension, recharge their emotions and feel good about the time away from their classroom.
Your child who has autism, is probably not a child who wants to interact with other children during recess and does not always know what to do during that time.
You as parent(s), caregiver(s), may want to make a visit to the school your child attends, that offers recess, make notes of how your child acts, reacts, responds and socialize with other peers.
Taking this measure of evaluation and observing your child, you will understand what some of the issues are and what your child is doing during recess. For example:
* Your child with autism may not know what recess is, what to do or how to interact with other children. You as parent(s), caregiver(s), will want to observe other children who do not have autism. Those children will probably run around and enjoy various games, talk with their friends and participate with their friends. Therefore, after observing your child, he or she may need special instructions to understand what to do during recess.
* Your child might not be able to follow proper rules that are enforced during recess or is rebellious against the rules.
* Many autistic children are not able to understand why other children are interacting and having fun. Children with autism will sometimes stand away or at a distance from other children and watch what is going on, without participating. They may run, walk in front of a line, when instructed to line up, because they do not understand what acceptable behavior is.
* There are teachers who give instructions before recess, as what to do, wear proper clothing, or how to participate when given new rules. Your child who has autism might get confused and not have an understanding of what was given from the teacher, to be applied during recess.
* If there is a fire drill or an emergency that might happen, for example: Severe weather, change in schedule, new policies, new equipment, brighter lights, more noise, loud voices, running, your child may experience struggling with these changes and not recognize the difference, during recess.
If your child is having difficulties during recess, it is imperative to talk to his or her teacher, visit the school at recess, and find out if there are policies for children with autism who may struggle with interaction with their peers.
You and the teacher of your child can be creative with new positive suggestions that will enable your child to enjoy recess. In time he or she, will understand what it is for and how to participate, socialize with other peers.
Recess can be a joyous and a fun time. Are you willing to take responsibility and find out what your child is doing during recess? Will you listen to your child, if he or she is having a struggle during recess? Are you going to take the time and make suggestions to the teacher of your child for improvements, if your child is not enjoying recess? Will you give your child encouragement and not discouragement if changes have to be made?
Explain, communicate to your child, and to his or her teacher, that recess is a positive time for enjoyment, also to relax if need be.
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