Hi, it’s your girl Dr. Alisha Griffith, affectionately known as “Dr. Ali.” I am your autism parenting strategist and ignite coach. I help autism moms, mompreneurs, and aspiring mompreneurs, to shift through the feelings of overwhelm, frustration, and stress, and move towards making bold, brave power moves so you can ignite the results you want and live that ultimate dream life you desire.
We’re wrapping up the end of August, which could only mean one thing: it’s BACK TO SCHOOL season! Now if you’re an autism (or special needs) mom like me, you might be kind of losing it right now. School can be incredibly challenging and stressful for us and our children since they have different needs and anxieties than other children. Going to school means having to adjust to an entirely new schedule, new people, new environments, new structures, etc. Without the right preparation going back to school can pretty much guarantee meltdowns are going to happen.
So today I wanted to share with you 5 Au-mazing Tips for Your Back to School Transition. These are my tried and tested strategies that I have used with my own son Zachary (who is on the autism spectrum) to make transitioning back into school go SO much easier and to reduce as much uncertainty for him as possible. You can use these if your child is going to school for the first time, if they’re going to a new classroom, or even if they’re going to an entirely new school. If your child has already gone back to school and they still haven’t quite adjusted, you can definitely use these tips too!
Tip #1: Provide a Visual of the School
It’s important that your child has an idea of what to expect for school – whether they’re going for the first time, they’re going to a new school, or they just need a reminder what their current school is like. So on top of simply explaining to them what to expect, you need to SHOW them. Look at pamphlets, pictures, videos, maps, etc. Show them what their school looks like, what their classroom looks like, what their bus stop looks like. Walkthrough where everything is and get them familiar what it’s like where they’re going. Even go TO the school so they can see it in person. If it’s possible to tour their building and classroom before school starts, even better!
Tip #2: Create a Mock School Routine.
One thing that is essential for making the back to school transition easier is to start practicing your school routine BEFORE school even starts. Create a new morning routine for your child that will follow exactly what they’ll be doing each morning before school, and get in the habit of doing it a few weeks prior to their start day. Make it as close to the school morning routine as possible – from the time they’ll wake up, to getting dressed, to brushing their teeth, to combing their hair, to eating breakfast, to getting their backpack ready. They sooner you can start implementing the mock routine, the less stress you and your child will experience once you have to start doing it for real. It makes getting in the routine more gradual rather than abruptly changing the schedule they’ve gotten used to over the summer.
Tip #3: Meet the Teachers as Soon as Possible.
Another thing that I always do to help Zachary and myself is to meet the teachers BEFORE school starts. Usually there’s some sort of open house or meet the teacher event – make sure to attend those if you can! Meet the teachers, the counselors, the therapists, even the gym teacher. Try and meet everyone who will be involved in your child’s learning. Not only does it give you a chance to discuss expectations for your child for the year, but it will also help your child get more familiar with them prior to working with them, and then they won’t seem like total strangers come the first day of school. Plus, it also establishes a connection between your child and the teacher, and will hopefully even get your kiddo excited to go to school and spend time with them!
Tip #4: Keep One Thing Consistent.
Whether your child is starting school for the first time, if they’re going to a new classroom, a new school, etc., keep one thing that was consistent in their life BEFORE this change. Maybe they’re in a new environment with new people, but they’ll still have the same backpack from last year, or the same lunchbox, or the pencil bag. You can even send them with their favorite sensory or fidget toy. Just make sure to send them with something that they’re used to and familiar with that will bring them comfort in this totally UNfamiliar environment.
Tip #5: Send a Love Note with Them.
Once they finally make it to school and you’ve done all your prep work to get them as ready as you possibly can – try sending a little love note with them to school. I like to put love notes in Zachary’s lunchbox from time to time. It’s just a nice little reminder for them that you love them, your thinking about them, and that you’re there with them in spirit. You can send them as often as you want! Try sending them everyday for the first week or so, and then you can taper them off if you wish. They’ll help your child to not feel so alone and bring them comfort when they’re starting to feel overwhelmed.
So those were five of my au-mazing tips on how to successfully transition back to school with your special needs child. If you’ve used these tips before, or if you have other tips the other autism moms can benefit from definitely leave a comment and let me know! Until next time, it’s ya girl Dr. Ali signing off with a reminder to be au-mazing in your thoughts, your words, and your actions.
P.S. I’m hosting a LIVE event, Mompreneurs on FIRE in Brooklyn, NY from Sept. 28th-29th for any mompreneurs or aspiring entrepreneurs out there who are ready to FINALLY achieve their business dreams. Now that the kids are going back to school, it’s time for YOU to get back to business.
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I’m going to be giving you access to my ultimate tools and strategies that I’ve used to ignite explosive results in my own business and create PROFIT with my passion and purpose. I’m a CEO, Autism Parenting Strategist, Communication Expert, Ignite Coach, Best-Selling Author, and Transformational Speaker. So yeah, I know a thing or TWO about achieving goals and catapulting success. All you have to do to finally have the business success you desire is say YES and give yourself permission to attend. Take advantage of our Fast Action offer while it lasts, seats are going QUICK! Reserve your seat NOW: www.mompreneursonfire.com
Today we are going to learn all about the power of a SMILE. Yes, a smile. Now I know many of you think that, “oh my goodness, is this going to be cheesy?” But there is so much power that you have with a simple movement of turning the two sides of your mouth up, up, up into a smile. Now you’re going to have power in the way that you affect yourself, and you’ll also have power in the way that you affect others around you. I have had the privilege of having my mentor, Ms. Edith Mann, who is the founder of the Share a Smile Ambassador, to a mentor me before she passed in 2018 on what a smile can do for people that we meet, for children that we may interact with, and also for ourselves. So it’s an honor, a privilege for me to be a Share a Smile Ambassador. Therefore, this session is going to be all about how I’ve used smiles to maximize and change the things that have happened in my life.
I have always been blessed to have a sunshiny disposition, but the cool thing about it is that I’m not always this cheery go lucky, happy type of person. I mean, life happens. As most of you know, I am a mom of a son with autism, good old Zachary. So you know that takes me through my ups and downs, and I’m also a professional as a speech language pathologist and audiologist working with children and families. So you know that takes us up and down and all around. However, what I always cherished is the fact that I’ve been blessed to actually have the choice, the opportunity to do these things. And I always take it back to the fact that they’re all choices. I had the choice to be a parent. I gave the choice to move towards a career. I give a choice every day when I get up in the morning. And when I choose to do the things that I want to do, when I choose to do the different, you know, ups and downs of life, when I make my choices throughout them, I’m quite aware that whatever results happen are based on my choices. So when I stop and I think about the good, the bad and the ugly, it helps me to realize that no matter what has happened, I am still here. And somehow, somewhere, I began to learn how to smile from the inside.
My smile really comes from gratitude. My smile comes from the fact that when I work with children with disabilities and families with disabilities, it lets me know that they don’t have that option like how I have an option. So my choices, the fact that I’m still here, the fact that I still have the ability to make a choice is incredible for me. And that’s enough to make me smile. So I broke down the S.M.I.L.E. into an acronym, and they’re all action words and they’re all being used every time I open up my face and I lift the corners of my lips up.
S: Shift a Mood.
First I think of S, right? The S is the power of the smile is that it can shift a mood anywhere. Like I’ve literally jogged in the morning and as I’m jogging, my intention really is to give people at least 10 smiles. Now from New York, that’s a huge thing because in New York we don’t smile. You know, we’re basically just trying to get through the day, we’re always in a constant go. So what I love to do is I love to surprise and shock people with a smile. And with that smile, I know it’s an immediate shift. I’ve seen people go, oh yeah, and then they had to smile back. And then there’s some who don’t respond and that’s fine, but for the ones that do respond, I’m thinking to myself, yeah, I shifted their day and I also shifted my day knowing that the power of my smile can cause. Juicy, right?
M: Manifest Change.
Now the M. The M is the power of knowing that I can manifest change. The power of the smile allows me to know that I can manifest a change, a change in the mood, a shift in what’s going on. That smile can change into manifestations throughout the day. That’s how powerful a smile can be.
I: Ignite Others.
Now the I. The I is all me. Y’all know I’m the ignite coach. I love to get people excited and riled up and, and energized into going after the things that they always want, and I work with my clients with that. All the ones that come to me that are feeling burnt out, feeling like they’re going in circles and just feeling stuck – I love taking that magic and helping them to get ignited. And most of the times my smile is part of that ignition. So a smile can ignite a person, ignites them and ignites me. So just like how it can shift the day, it can manifest the things that you want. It could ignite your dreams and ignite what it is that you may want to focus on for that day. That’s how powerful a smile can be.
L: Lift an Energy.
Now, what I want you to know is that as you’re doing it, you can also lift an energy. You can walk into the room, especially a room, and I’ve done this so many times, I’ve walked in where I felt heavy, heavy, heavy energy in the room, like I don’t know what they were arguing over or something’s just going on. And every time I walk into the room I just simply smile. Now I know Dusty, if you’re reading, that’s one of my clients. And she had an event and of course all of those who have events, which by the way, my event is coming September 28th and 29th just plugging for Mompreneurs on Fire. So I walked into her event and chaos was happening as most happened at the back end of an event and I just walked in and I smiled and that was it. So she came back to me and she was like, “that was such a change that I needed. I needed that smile. I needed you to come in. You came in and you lifted the energy immediately”. And that’s the power of a smile. Do not discredit the power of your smile. You can lift your own self and you tend to lift others around you with the same intensity.
E: Express Your Feelings.
The last E I want to give is a smile helps you to express how you’re feeling. A smile is something visible, so if you’re saying something joyful and you’re not attaching it with a smile, then it really has no connectivity. If you’re saying something that’s uplifting, if you’re helping others to shift and there is no smile, then exactly what are you doing? It’s a form of visual expression. I was a speech language pathologist, you know I had to come in with that part and that is power of a smile. Sometimes you don’t have to say a word. Sometimes it’s just the use of a smile and those positive energies. Those two simple movements of both sides of your lips turning upside up can shift so much around you.
So now it’s your turn. It’s your turn to make sure that you are sharing the power of this. Now it’s your turn to make sure that you are sharing this message so others out there can understand the power of a smile. It’s your turn to become a Share a Smile Ambassador. Join me in this mission as we go out there and shift the world. As we go out there and manifest change. As we go out there and ignite positive energy. As we go out there and lift different levels of positivity up. And as we go out there and use this expressive way of helping others to become powerful, take back their power in their lies. We can do this together. Make sure you are subscribed to my podcast The Dr. Ali Griffith Show. Make sure you I sharing this. Make sure if you need help with learning how to ignite your smile into your business, your parenting, your life, that you reach out to me at bit.ly/chatcreate. Follow me, go to my website, follow me on different forums so you can get this power of smile into your daily routine and it becomes natural, not something fictitious. I love you, and as always be au-mazing in your thoughts, your words, and in your actions. Peace.
This is a transcription of The Dr. Ali Griffith Show. If you’d like to listen to this episode and others you can do so here: bit.ly/dralishow
P.S. I’m hosting my first ever LIVE event – Mompreneurs on Fire – September 28th-29th in Brooklyn, NY. Give yourself permission to up-level your parenting and your business with me as we ignite our inner fires and make a plan of action to start making POWER moves. You will have access to my ultimate strategies on purposeful parenting, money mindset movies, social media and PR tricks, communication, reating an action plan for your business, and SO much more. You’re going to want to be present for this. Grab YOUR seat now: http://bit.ly/momearly.