Free back-to-school resource toolkits aimed at families of children with autism

Autism charity says loss of routine poses major challenge for vulnerable pupiuls

Thousands of free learning resource tookits are being provided to families of children with autism to help children prepare for a return to school in the autumn.

The tookit developed with Mary Immaculate College in collaboration with autism charity AsIAm aims to help those with high support needs who have suffered from a loss of structure and routine.

Some 20,000 "bridge back to school" resource booklets will be distributed to SuperValu stores nationwide and be available to pick up from Monday, July 6th in every store. It can also be downloaded from its website.

As well as parents and carers, the booklet is aimed at teachers and special needs assistants who will be delivering a summer programme of support for children with special needs over the summer.


The resource offers guidance on sensory integration; preparing for the new year; dealing with worry and anxiety; explaining the “new normal”; social skills; self-regulation; use of visuals; and clear communication

AsIAm chief executive Adam Harris said that not only have the changes in routine and lack of support been a challenge for autistic students, but re-establishing routine will be just as challenging.

“The summer months present an important opportunity for Summer Provision facilitators and family members to help prepare children for the transition back to education in September, but materials and guidance are needed to do so. The Bridge Back to School resource we’re launching will support a young person to understand, prepare and manage the return to school.”

Prof Emer Ring of Mary Immaculate College said that even minor changes can pose serious stress to others in their community.

“While we welcome the reopening of businesses and society, we must be mindful that this is not a simple transition for many people. This resource we have developed with SuperValu & AsIAm offers essential guidance for those with high support needs that will find the transition back to school a particular challenge,” she said.

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent