Going back to school can be challenging and overwhelming for both parents and children, but for families that have special needs children it can be down right daunting.
I have seen many mom bloggers writing blog posts about tips and survival lists to get your children ready to go back to school, talking about getting your children back in to a routine, that we all know we let slide over the summer months. All of these lists are great, but I would like to add to them from a special needs mom perspective.
Here are some tips that can help you and your child survive the next few weeks or month of what is called the “back to school” season!
- Know what medical forms or scripts are needed prior to school so that your child will be able to start receiving the necessary therapies right when school starts. You don’t want to have them wait to start receiving occupational or physical therapy that may require the need of a script or form from their doctor.
- If your child will be needing the care of the school nurse for medication distribution, feedings, etc. I would ask to schedule an appointment with the nurse, prior to school starting so you can comfortably go over the necessary information.
- If your child will be having new teachers or aides, ask to have a meeting prior to school starting to have you and your child meet these new faces that will be caring for your child during the school day. You can take pictures of them and create a social story for your child to help get them ready for their new environment.
- Take pictures of the playground, the cafeteria, library, nurses office, bus personnel, principal. All of this information will help your child be comfortable with those individuals that will there to support and care for them in the school.
- Start reading stories to your child about “making friends”. I can make this suggestion because I read this book to my son “The Bravest Boy I Ever Knew” by Lisa Eichlin. What a fabulous book my son really enjoyed it. Maybe you can find stories about sitting at your table, listening to the teacher, lining up etc. All of this information will help to create expectations of what you as well as your child’s teachers, aides and other school personnel expect your child to do.
- If possible let your child shop for their own school supplies. This will help them get familiar with the different pens, notebooks and again start getting them in the right frame of mind that school will be starting soon. Obviously make sure to label all of your child’s supplies as best you can.
- Next suggestion would be to create a “Student Snapshot”.
This student snapshot is just that a quick way to relay important information about your child to school personnel. You can read more and find the form here.
8. Another great idea would be to create a Back To School calendar that your child can be actively involved in crossing off the days until school starts.
9. Above all make going back to school fun!