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By Beth Rubio, Chief Clinical Officer
How can I help my special needs child adjust to school?
The change from a relaxed summer schedule to a more rigid school schedule can be a difficult and trying process and may cause a lot of excitement and anxiety for your special needs child. Your child may be starting school for the first time, moving to a new grade, moving to a new school, changing teachers or adjusting to different school hours.
A few important tips can help make this transition easier for your child.
Meet with your child’s teacher
Meeting with the teacher before school starts to introduce your child will help everyone involved make a smoother transition. Show the teacher a picture of your child and tell him or her about your child’s personality and disability. Tell the teacher what can and can’t be expected from your special needs child and provide materials about your child’s disability.
Take your child to the open house
If your school has an open house, attending with your child is an excellent way to prepare both of you for the new experience. Your child may feel better after having had a chance to meet the teacher and see the classroom, school, and surroundings with you by their side.
Familiarize the school with your child’s medical equipment
If your child has special medical equipment and technology, arrange a time with the teacher and school nurse so they are familiar and aware of what to do if needed. It is also helpful to meet with the other students in your child’s class so they understand what the “gadgets” are for and what not to touch, turn, or pull.
Communication is important in every relationship, but it is especially vital between you and your child’s school administration. Keep open lines of communication with teachers and principals. This way any problems or concerns can be addressed as needed.
More than anything else your child needs your support during this exciting and challenging transition back to school. Parents interested in supporting their children with special needs can play a vital part in assisting teachers to understand these disabilities so they may incorporate educational and fun programs into the start of the school year.
By following these few helpful tips you can help ensure your child has a successful start to the new school year!