A new way to say ‘I love you’ to our sonAugust 13, 2019
Back-to-school season is filled with change and excitement. Whether your child is starting at a new school or returning to the classroom, the first day is an important moment for children and their parents. For many children with autism, this season of change can feel overwhelming.
Research suggests that autism spectrum disorder affects each child – even siblings – differently and that sensory items in various textures may comfort some children with autism. That’s why Autism Speaks has teamed up with Kellogg’s to create Rice Krispies Treats Sensory Love Notes stickers. Parents can add these stickers to the wrappers of Rice Krispies Treats, giving their child a tactile message filled with love that they can hold onto throughout the school day.
Kayla M. and her husband Steele have two children with autism: their 3-year-old daughter Reagan and 5-year-old son Steele, who goes by S.J. While S.J. is like any other kindergartener in many ways – bright, curious and a bundle of energy – his autism brings challenges with communication, social interaction with other children, and changes in his routine. Check out how Kayla and S.J. plan to take on this school year with the help of Rice Krispies Treats Love Notes.
There can be so many exciting events around going back to school: clothes shopping, a fresh haircut, a new backpack and, of course, getting all of those much-desired, teacher wish-list school supplies. Like many other parents, my husband and I will be able to participate in all of these events this year as my oldest child attends kindergarten in the fall.
Our son S.J. will be transitioning from an early childhood special education program to traditional public school. This transition is exciting because academically he has great skills that are needed for kindergarten. It is also extremely scary because it is important for S.J, like many kids with autism spectrum disorder, to establish and maintain routines. Starting at a new school means a totally new routine to learn, new rules to follow, new people to make connections with, and all the unknowns that are difficult to prepare him for. As a family of four that includes two children with autism, these vast transitions are extremely tiring to all parties. This makes it even more crucial to start practicing early for what school will look like in the fall. Together we practice getting dressed in the morning, packing S.J.’s backpack and eating his lunch from his lunch pail, reading books and talking a lot about kindergarten at his new school. Establishing this routine now will make that first day feel a bit more familiar.
Since joining Autism Speaks in its partnership with Rice Krispies Treats, my husband and I stick Love Notes onto the treats I pack in S.J.’s backpack. They have become part of our routine and a new way to say ‘I love you’ to our son. The soft, smooth or bumpy textures are a simple way to remind him of what he loves most: his family and home. These hearts will become something he looks forward to finding in his backpack, because he can feel our love while at school.
S.J. has a special quality of making everyone he interacts with feel like the most important person in the world. I hope when he finds his Rice Krispies Treats Love Notes, he will feel like the most important person in our world. Our family says that S.J. loves so hard, and I know this love will be felt by all his new friends and teachers at his school. Now he has a way to feel how we love him so hard!