The beginning of the school year is fraught with challenges for any parent but in particular for those who have a child with special needs. Here are a few tips to help your child start the school year off right:
- Discuss important information – Help prepare your child in the coming days by discussing key information for the upcoming school year. This should include his or her bus driver’s name or bus number, the teacher’s name and classroom number, etc. These and other pertinent facts can be reinforced through the use of visual supports such as simple pictures and words.
- Practice routines – Begin practicing morning and afternoon routines prior to the start of the school year to help ease the transition. A slower, more gradual return to school routines allows more time for your child to adjust and feel comfortable in the changes that come with a new school year.
- Highlight child’s interests – Discuss and review your child’s preferred school-related activities to help emphasize the fun aspects of school! Examples can include: coloring pictures in art class, singing their favorite songs in music lessons, and hearing their favorite stories during reading time. Of course, seeing their friends again is probably the biggest motivator!
- Communicate with teachers – The beginning of the school year is an opportune time to update your child’s teacher on topics such as: how his or her summer went, preferred activities or trips, as well any changes in your child’s preferences (foods, play, or topics). This information is especially helpful if your child is new to the school or starting in a new classroom. (Attending Back to School Night is another great opportunity to meet with your child’s teacher and see the classroom!)