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Preschool Options for a Child With Autism

As a parent of a child with autism, choosing the right preschool can be a daunting task. However, the good news is that there are more options available now than ever before. In this article, we’ll explore some of the preschool options available for children with autism.

Best Preschool Options For Kids With Autism

  1. Inclusive Preschools
  2. Special Education Preschools
  3. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Preschools
  4. Montessori Preschools

1. Inclusive Preschools

Inclusive preschools are designed to cater to children with diverse learning abilities. These preschools typically have a mix of children with special needs and typically developing children. Inclusive preschools have trained teachers who are equipped to teach children with autism. These teachers use a variety of teaching methods to meet the needs of all children in the classroom.

In an inclusive preschool, children with autism get to interact with typically developing children, which can help them learn important social skills. Additionally, children with autism can learn from their peers, who can serve as positive role models.

2. Special Education Preschools

Special education preschools are designed to cater specifically to children with special needs, including autism. These preschools have teachers who are trained in working with children with autism. The classrooms are usually small, with a low student-to-teacher ratio.

In a special education preschool, children with autism receive individualized attention and specialized instruction. The teachers use a variety of teaching methods to meet the unique needs of each child. Additionally, the teachers work closely with parents to develop individualized education plans (IEPs) that outline the child’s goals and objectives.

3. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Preschools

ABA preschools are designed to provide intensive early intervention for children with autism. These preschools use the principles of behavior analysis to teach children with autism important skills, such as communication, socialization, and self-help skills.

In an ABA preschool, children with autism receive one-on-one instruction from trained therapists. The therapists use positive reinforcement to motivate the child to learn new skills. Additionally, parents are involved in the therapy process and are trained to use the same techniques at home.

4. Montessori Preschools

Montessori preschools are designed to provide a child-centered learning environment. In a Montessori preschool, children with autism are encouraged to learn at their own pace and in their own way. The classrooms are typically designed to be calm and quiet, which can be beneficial for children with autism who may be sensitive to noise and other sensory stimuli.

In a Montessori preschool, children with autism have the opportunity to develop important skills, such as independence, self-regulation, and problem-solving. Additionally, the teachers in a Montessori preschool are trained to observe each child and provide individualized instruction.


Should my child with autism go to preschool?

Absolutely! Preschool can be a great opportunity for children with autism to learn important skills, such as socialization, communication, and self-help skills. Additionally, preschool can help prepare children with autism for the transition to kindergarten.

When considering whether or not to send your child with autism to preschool, it’s important to consider their individual needs and abilities. Some children with autism may benefit from the structure and routine of a preschool setting, while others may find it overwhelming.

It’s also important to consider the specific program and teachers when choosing a preschool. Look for programs that have experience working with children with special needs, including autism. Additionally, talk to the teachers about their approach and philosophy to ensure that it aligns with your goals for your child.

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to send your child with autism to preschool is a personal one. However, by considering your child’s individual needs and abilities and researching different programs, you can make an informed decision that supports your child’s development and growth.

How can I prepare my child with autism for preschool?

Preparing your child for preschool can be overwhelming, but there are things you can do to help them feel more comfortable. First, visit the preschool before enrolling your child. This will give you and your child an opportunity to meet the teachers and see the classroom. Additionally, create a visual schedule or social story that explains what will happen during the day at preschool.

How should I choose a preschool for my child with autism?

When choosing a preschool for your child with autism, it’s important to consider their unique needs. Look for a preschool that has experience working with children on the spectrum and has trained teachers who use evidence-based teaching methods. Additionally, consider factors such as class size, teacher-to-student ratio, and sensory-friendly environment.

What should I expect from my child’s preschool program?

The expectations for your child’s preschool program will depend on their individual needs and goals. However, in general, you should expect your child’s program to provide opportunities for socialization and skill-building in areas such as communication and self-help skills. You should also expect regular updates from the teachers on your child’s progress.

How do you teach an autistic child in preschool?

When teaching an autistic child in preschool, it's important to use evidence-based teaching methods that are tailored to the child's individual needs. One effective teaching method for children with autism is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). ABA involves breaking down complex skills into smaller, more manageable steps and using positive reinforcement to motivate the child to learn.

Visual aids can also be helpful for teaching children with autism. Using visual schedules and social stories can help prepare the child for what they can expect during their day at preschool. Additionally, incorporating sensory activities into the curriculum can help children with autism regulate their sensory input and improve their attention span.

Another important aspect of teaching an autistic child in preschool is creating a structured and predictable environment. Children with autism often thrive in environments that have clear expectations and routines. Teachers should provide clear instructions and give plenty of positive feedback when the child follows through on expectations.

Finally, it's important to remember that every child with autism is unique and may require different strategies for learning. Teachers should work closely with parents to develop individualized education plans (IEPs) that outline the child's goals and objectives. By working together, teachers and parents can ensure that each child receives the support they need to succeed in preschool and beyond.


In conclusion, choosing the right preschool for a child with autism can be challenging, but it’s important to remember that there are many options available. Inclusive preschools, special education preschools, ABA preschools, and Montessori preschools are just a few of the options available.

The key is to find a preschool that meets the unique needs of your child, and that has teachers who are trained in working with children with autism.

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