This August, many children with Special Needs with be walking down the hall for the first time. For parents of these children, this can be overwhelming as well as exciting. Here are three steps to help parents of Special Need Children prepare for the first day of school.

Visit the School
It can be overwhelming starting a new school. If you are the parent of a child with special needs, this can cause anxiety not only for you but the child as well. Scheduling a visit at the school is an excellent idea. Planning a visit during the summer helps the child to see the school when it is less crowded. It is important for the child to walk down the hallways and classroom to get a familiarity of the place. This tour should include the cafeteria, the library, principal’s office, the nurse’s office as well as the classroom where the student will be if that is available at the time. If the child is switching classes, this schedule should be followed in order as this will be the child routine. Also, knowing where the closest bathroom is essential.

Picture Schedules
If your child is a visual learner, creating a picture schedule may work. If possible, two weeks before school starts, go to the school and take pictures of the school, school buses, and faculty. Arrange the pictures in subsequent events. This picture schedule will help the child with an understanding of their schedule in pictures.

Supportive Staff

No one knows a child better than their parents. It is important during the first week of school to get to know the teachers and supports who will be teaching your child. If your child has an Individual Education Plan ( IEP) or 504 plan, ensure all parties have a copy of this so they can plan how to serve your child best. The lines of communication for both sides should be open.

Be Involved

Parent Teacher Association (PTA), the school bake sales, Booster Club, whatever activity there is which requires a parent interaction and participation, if you can be active in it, then do it. It shows you support your child’ education. This behavior exhibits that this parent is active in their child’s life as well as education. These activities can be used as social interaction with other parent’s whose child may have similar diagnoses. It may also be a resource for additional information which parents who do not participate may be aware. Parents who are involved in their child’s education may also get more support. As the slogan goes, ” Membership does have its benefits.”

As the school year starts, it’s wise to have a plan when it comes to children and education. If you follow these three steps, your child will be off to a good start. Here’s to making this school year the best year!

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