Navigating School

There are many aspects of school that will come easily or with struggle for the autistic student. Here, I will list a few things to capitalize on in order to make school life more manageable:
1) Bask in the routine. More than any other time of an autistic person’s life, school years are full of schedules and rules. If keeping track of these routines is overwhelming due to executive functioning challenges, organize all your schedules, syllabi, and codes of conduct into one binder. Ask a guidance counselor or a learning specialist for help with compiling this binder.
2) For neurotypical people, academics and social life are often inextricable during the school years. I would argue that the opposite is true for an autistic person. Our academic skills and social skills require their own dedicated time to build, and it’s next to impossible to tackle both simultaneously. Which is more important? That’s up to the autistic student, their parents, and their team. Choose one to focus the most on for a half a year at a time, and be kind to yourself when you only see gains in one area.
3) Set up a homework routine that works for you individually. Personally, I was too burned out to do my homework right when I arrived home. Instead, I took serious advantage of work-time in class, rarely socializing during those times. On the days when homework was unavoidable, I completed it later at night after the sun had set. At that point, I’d eaten, rested, and dabbled in my special interests. I also did work at the dining room table, where I’d be less likely to start up my special interests again.
4) Remember the purpose of high school. We’re all there to prepare ourselves for life outside of high school! Try not to focus on being the most successful student. Instead, your goal might be to be as prepared as possible for the days when high school is over, which is a lot sooner than you think!

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