My wife and I are in the middle of a move to another city—and it’s been a major learning event for us.
With our neurotypical kids, there are definitely hoops to jump through as far as school registration and finding the right daycare. But for our 4-year-old with cerebral palsy, it seems like things are a bit more complex—and that makes life a bit more complicated.
The biggest thing that I wish we’d done prior to moving is getting in touch with the school district and teachers earlier. We contacted the new school district about three weeks prior to moving. I wish we had visited prior to the move to meet with school and district officials to talk about our son’s needs. Doing so would have allowed them to have plenty of time to coordinate supplies, accommodations, and to work directly with teachers to make sure that everything was ready.
I would also strongly recommend working early with your current school district to get a copy of your child’s ARD (Admission, Review, and Dismissal) document. Sending it to the new district well ahead of your first meeting could result in teachers and/or district officials being much more productive and informed.
When it comes to therapy, get in contact with facilities early and often. See what services they provide and whether they will take your insurance. Tour the facilities ahead of the move to help you make the best choice. Ask your current therapists and service coordinators to give you recommendations. Having them contact the facilities makes the transition a bit easier.
Change in routine can have a big impact on our children’s mood and behavior. While you might not be able to make everything seamless, the more you do to help your child know what to expect, the better your child will be able to adjust.
Talk to your children about what’s coming up. I’m still not sure how much our 4-year-old understands—but we talked to him early and often about simple things: we were going to move; things were going to be different; we’d be right there with him. In some sense I think this resulted in him being both excited about the move itself and able to deal with the changes more easily.
Our moving adventure is still going on, and I think we’re on the right track.
A few extra steps at the start could have made ours just a little bit easier. So learn from our experience and make your move as easy and as peaceful as possible.
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