Doctors’ visits, new backpacks, shoes, and checking off supply lists are all indications that a new school year is about to begin. However, a successful start of the school year for our children with Individualized Education Program requires thoughtful planning. Here are some ideas our family uses to help with the transition back to school.
1. Before the start of the new school year, get your child’s paperwork in order. Check their current Individualized Education Program. Are goals still appropriate? Are revisions needed prior to the new school year? Schedule an ARD meeting if you believe changes are needed.
Review current laws and regulations. Are there any changes that will impact your child’s education?
2. Does your child take medication at school? Get required forms to your child’s doctor for their signature, and make sure you have a supply of medication for both home and school. Are required vaccinations up-to-date? If you are having a hard time getting an appointment, the local urgent care centers usually offer vaccinations without an appointment.
3. Talk with your child about the new school year. What are they excited about? What are the expectations for this year? Discuss any concerns or fears they may have and help them find solutions.
4. Plan a time for your child to visit the new classroom or school. A short visit with new teachers before the new school year begins will help with transition.
Be prepared to share information about your child’s summer. Did he take advantage of educational opportunities? Has there been a change in health? What events took place that might impact your child’s return to school? Has there been a change in behavior and how did you address it?
5. Help your child get back into school sleep and awake routine. Adjust the schedule 30 minutes per day until your child reaches their normal school bedtime. Ease them back into a normal morning routine (getting up and dressed first thing in the morning). Starting the routine early will hopefully make that first day of school a stress-free success.
Take the time to develop a plan for the start of school. It will help your child have a successful start to the new school year and a successful child makes for a happy parent. Check this website for more articles and information on preparing for a new school year.
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Sam Allen has high-functioning autism. He was recently recognized as a Student Success Story at the Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education (TCASE) annual conference.