The start of a new school year can be both exciting and a little scary for children and parents alike. There are many changes occurring, and this can be a lot to take in. It can be even more difficult if your child has special needs that you must contend with. But there are many ways you help them to make the most of the new school year and get off to a stronger start.
- Talk to their teacher ahead of time
Try to schedule a time to talk to their teacher either right before the school year starts, or at the very beginning. Let them know upfront that you want to work together to make this a great year for your child and ensure they have everything they need to be successful. They’ve probably looked at your child’s file or talked to their previous teacher, but do your part to be an advocate. Discuss your child’s special needs so they’re hearing the facts straight from you and can ask any questions they may have.
Talk about your child’s strengths and what motivates them. Also discuss their challenges and some strategies you have found helpful in overcoming obstacles or navigating through meltdowns. Make sure you’re on the same page and there is clear communication from the start.
- Review their IEP or 504 Plan
Most likely your child already has an individualized education plan (IEP) or 504 plan in place if they have documented special needs or medical concerns. Make sure their teacher is aware that this plan is in place and has a copy of it. You can double check that they’re prepared to provide any accommodations your child may need and talk through how you can be more supportive at home with what they’re doing in school.
- Swap contact information
While you don’t want to be a helicopter parent, you want to ensure that there are open lines of communication and you and your child’s teacher can get ahold of each other if the need arises. Stay in touch about your child’s progress and any concerns that are observed. Ask them to update you on accomplishments as well so you can celebrate with your child at home.
- Check that the right supports are in place
Make sure that your child has access to the accommodations or resources they need to be more successful. This may mean classroom support, pull-out support, therapies at school or outside of school, assistive technology, or other resources. Not all children are the same, so what works for one, may not be as effective for another. Talk to teachers, therapists, and other providers to see how you can all work together to get the right plan in place for your child that meets their individual needs.
PediaPlex provides a wide range of services and therapies to meet children’s unique needs and goals. We work with families, educators, and medical providers to create a collaborative approach to care and ensure that everyone is on the same page. If you have concerns about your child or feel that they need more support, PediaPlex can be a great place to start.
Is your child struggling in school or needs additional support? Contact PediaPlex today to find out how we can help.