Expect great things from your child!
Let your child know your expectations and the goals you believe will be accomplished this school year. Ask your child if he has goals he would like to work on. You may be surprised by his interests and what he wants to accomplish.
Review Your Child’s ARD/IEP Paperwork
IEPs are often developed during the previous school year; you and your child may need a refresher. As you review the IEP paperwork make a note of the following:
If there are unresolved concerns from the previous year or you have new information, schedule a meeting to address these issues as soon as possible. Your child’s success may depend on it!
Create a “Student Introduction Portfolio”
A Student Introduction Portfolio is a great communication tool used to assist others in getting to know your child. It is a collection of information and pictures organized in a way that highlights your child for who she is beyond her disability label.
For more information about Student Introduction Portfolio’s visit Texas Project First,
http://www.texasprojectfirst.org/StudentIntroPort.html. This site includes step-by-step instructions and sample pages to help you get started.
Form a home/school partnership before school starts
Developing home/school partnerships doesn’t just happen. It takes a concerted effort by both parties. If you’ve met the school personnel working with your child, you are ahead of the game. If not, request a parent/teacher meeting or team staffing. This is a great way to begin a positive relationship and establish yourself as an equal member in your child’s education. If you’ve created a Student Introduction Portfolio, this is a good time to introduce it to school personnel.
If scheduling challenges come up, you may want to send a short introductory letter instead.
Anything parents can do to make things easier for teachers at the beginning of the year, while also getting their child's needs met is a good idea.
Take Note of How Your Child Reacts to Change
If possible, visit the new setting before school starts. Take a walk around the campus with your child and locate his or her classrooms, lunchroom, playground, the office, nurse, gym, and restrooms, etc. This may keep your child from feeling lost, reduce anxiety, and increase independence the first day.
Encourage your child to explore and become involved in school based activities
Participation in organized activities - sports, clubs, fine arts, etc. has many benefits. If modifications and/or accommodations are needed for your child’s participation, make sure these are addressed in his or her IEP paperwork.
Do you celebrate success or do you only notice when things are less than perfect? There will be rewards and challenges along the journey. It is easy to address the challenges as that is where energy is easily focused. Equally important is the recognition and celebration of success. Make time for both – celebrating success is a great motivation tool for all!
Check out our page on Resources and Services for Students with Disabilities for more information and resources on the special education process in Texas.