Identifying and labeling emotions in young children with autism

School readiness checklist

Whilst I am really not a fan of checklists – when it comes to school readiness, we need to have some understanding of “skills” a child needs to be able to navigate “big-school” successfully. Age is only one of the factors that are involved in determining if your child is ready to start school.  Parents and guardians should make sure that their children are prepared for the big step into “big-school” or Grade 1.  This goes for normal developing children as well as children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. 

A child’s readiness for “big-school” will lay the foundation for the rest of the child’s educational future. 

The leap between a specialized educational environment, nursery school or early childhood development center and “big-school” is huge.  Even more so for the learner with an autism spectrum disorder. 

Readiness to learn does not stop and start in Grade 1.  Readiness to learn means that your child is ready to experience, tasks and skills that match his age year on year!  Each year the Curriculum become harder, and the child is expected to master new skills.

Ignoring your child’s development delays in the foundation years merely means that you will need to face them when the child is expected to learn independently from grade 4 onwards.  Far too many children drop out of mainstream education in their Grade 4 year and in many instances, this could have been avoided. 

Should you expect that your child is not school ready – consult with an Educational Phycologist and have a professional assessment completed.  You can also consult with a Neurodevelopment Specialist. 

There are fantastic and very reputable schools for “learners with special educational needs”.  South Africa also has Remedial schools, Special Needs School and Schools for children with Autism.  Therapy centers and remedial therapists can also help your child to catch up on the skills.

Ilse Kilian-Ross

Ilse Kilian-Ross is the owner of Amazing K, a registered ECD and Partial Care Facility in Johannesburg. Amazing K is a private adhd school, autism school and therapy centre for children from age 2 - 6 years where learners receive the best of both the schooling and therapy world. The autism school offers Individualized Education Programs, Speech- and Augmentive Alternative Communication (AAC) therapy as well as a full and adapted Academic Curriculum.