Saturday, August 10, 2013

Special Education Saturday - Starting at a New School

Changing schools is challenging for all children, and those with a disability have an especially difficult time. Here are a few tips to ease the transition:

  • Bring your IEP, report card, and most recent evaluation from the previous school. This will help the staff make placement and service decisions faster. 
  • Don't walk in with a list of demands, or complaints about your previous faculty. None of those people work at your new school. Give them a chance for a fresh start. 
  • Have positive conversations with your child about making new friends and all the fun and exciting things that will happen in the new year. 
  • Discuss possible extra-curricular activities your youngster may enjoy, and encourage her to participate in at least one. 
  • Start school bedtimes now so the transition will be easier. 
  • Check out possible routes to and from school now so you can look for traffic jams and reduce stress later. 
  • Even if you don't have access to the school supply list (although most will have them posted on their web sites or available in larger stores), get a few basics, such as pens, pencils, map colors, notebooks, and paper.
  • Get everything ready the night before. That also avoids the last-minute rush.
  • Encourage your child to introduce himself to new friends, and practice this with him. 
  • Talk to other parents in your neighborhood to get tips for your child. 
  • Offer a few choices to your child so she will feel more in control, such as selecting between two outfits or two types of food for lunch.
  • For secondary students, you may want to pack a lunch as navigating the lunch lines on the first day may prove too much of a challenge. 
  • Take your youngster to the library and read some books about the first day of school to reduce anxiety.
  • If a meet the teacher night is available, take advantage of it!
How do you prepare your children for a new school?