Written By Rhonda Page M.S., LCSW
For free advice email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please feel free to call me at 978-994-3101
1. Transitions can be a challenge. Make an appointment to meet your child’s new teacher and visit their classroom before school starts.
2. Re-familiarize yourself with the IEP, so you remember the specific services that are promised to your child. The IEP is a binding contract.
3. Take your child back to school shopping for school supplies. Use this opportunity as a “teachable moment” to talk about organizational strategies, and let your child have a voice in what is picked out! They are more likely to use materials and tools if they participated in the selection process.
4. Give the IEP to your child’s teacher personally on the first day of school as it may take a while for your special education liaison to distribute the document. You want your child to hit the ground running and get off to a great start.
5. Email or talk to your child’s teacher about what kind of communication would be helpful for you to support your child and the teacher. Email, daily notes, phone calls, text, daily assignment book?
6. Read the student handbook and understand school policies about bullying and everything else. There must be a zero-tolerance for bullying.
7. Start setting up school year routine towards the end of the summer- earlier bedtime, school day schedules, chores, routines etc. Set up the family schedule on the wall or fridge before school starts so that everyone knows what to expect.
8. Anxiety may start to increase for both you and your child as the day draws near, and will show itself in may ways. Acknowledge that it is a natural thing to be nervous or anxioux for everyone. Think of proactive ways to help alleviate the stress like fun activities, productive projects, play dates. Help your child articulate their concerns : “What I hear you saying is…”. Ask how their day went.
9. Ask to meet with your child’s teacher one month or so after the start of the year. If they have a regularly scheduled meeting with your child’s other teachers see if you can get some time in the meeting to discuss your child’s progress. This will optimize their time and provide a group perspective on your child. Remember it is your right to convene the special education team at any time, as many times as you feel it is necessary.
10.Please note that it is very important to put everything in writing! As your educational advocate one of my motto’s is; “If it is not in writing it does not exist.” Do not wait until the the going gets rough to organize yourself up with a notebook and folder for the new school year. Jot down notes of conversations with staff, keep emails, samples of work, test results, documentation of service delivery or lack thereof, etc.. Work towards a positive relationship with your school, we want to trust our educators….but documentation is critical.
Remember “Every child wants to learn.”