Autism and Organizing for Finals – Part One

Autism and Organizing for Finals – Part One

What do we do with finals?

Finals creep into our lives twice a year. For me, twice a year I have to remember how finals work best for my child with autism.

We really began to focus on how to approach finals in middle school.

What happened in middle school?

Middle school is the level of school with “real” finals. There are finals in the elementary grades, but they really begin to be super important in middle school.

The first semester of middle school for my son didn’t end very well.

Why not?

First of all, his grades were fine.

Or, at least, they ended up that way.

But, the prep for the finals was a struggle.

My son had decided that he could prepare for his finals on the last weekend. He tried to cram it all it, all of the work at once, for all of his classes.

He chose this way to prepare for finals.

Afterwards, he reflected on how he prepared. He said he didn’t like the cramming everything in at the last minute studying because it meant three or four days of not doing anything else. He had some breaks to razor on his scooter but he really had no other time available (i.e. gaming time).

What did we change?

About a month before the end of the next semester, I talked to my son about how I used to do it.

I was an athlete and I always had to prepare for finals early. I had no choice because my time was so limited. I had to become the type that prepared early.

My son agreed to try this way, preparing early and trying not to cram in everything at the end.

He did it for the second semester of his first year of middle school and for every finals since then.

How did that work out?

My son’s freshman year in high school is almost done. 

He decided after that first fateful cramming-for-finals semester, that he’s going to stick with the change that worked better for him.

Last weekend, two weeks before finals, he began to study and prepare. He worked on one of his study sheets and he completed an English project that weekend.

Review for finals

For the most part, the last week in school was reviewing for finals.  

This weekend, the weekend before finals, is preparing for each final as they’re coming up…the high school sets the schedule of finals based on periods. The winter finals, for example, had finals for periods one and two on the Monday, periods three and four on the Tuesday, and periods five and six on the Wednesday.

What my son likes about this system of preparation is that he doesn’t have to cram in everything. He can take breaks not only for his scootering but for some gaming time.

It’s a schedule that works for him.

Trial and error

It was trial and error, and finally settling on something that fits with his lifestyle.

So, here we were preparing for this year’s finals schedule, until my son’s case worker stepped in…

More of some late finals development(s) on my next blog. It’s something for parents of kids on the spectrum to look out for…so I’ll give it more space to explain. Autism and Organizing for Finals

Here’s some helpful tips on helping our kids get organized with school:


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