After years of bad experiences with back to school time, we have finally developed a routine that works best for going back to school with a special needs child. Since we finally developed a routine that works, I am hoping that sharing it here will help someone else who struggles like we did in the past.
Back To School For The Special Needs Child
Here’s my plan, as time moves along…
During the summer
During the summer, we do take a break, but we still make it a point to do some reading and writing every day. We make it a point to do one math worksheet, one writing project, and at least 30 minutes of reading every day.
Two weeks prior
We start waking up earlier. We slowly adjust our schedule by 15-30 minutes per day (depending on how late we’ve been sleeping.
We also contact the school to schedule a meeting with our next teacher(s).
One week prior
We meet with the school. We make it a point to meet with literally every person that my son will be working with that school year. We make it a point to meet in their classroom(s) so that he can get used to it, and have a feel for what the year is going to be like.
We also start getting up at the exact time we will have to every morning so that we can get dressed, brush our teeth, eat breakfast, and get to the bus stop on time. We actually walk all the way to the bus stop too, so that we know we won’t be late.
Even though we’ve already met with teachers, I feel like it is VITAL to go to open house, so that my son can get a feel of what the school is going to be like when it is crowded with other students. After all, he has had a 3 month break from the chaos.
The day before
We get up, go through our routine, and answer any questions he may have, to the best of our ability.
The first day of school
No matter how much I want to drive my kids, I put them on the bus so that we can get into routine. And, I take the day off and stay home, so that in case there is an emergency, I can make myself available and be at the school within minutes.
The first two weeks
I stick with the routine. No drop-offs, no pick-ups, no changing the routine unless absolutely necessary.
- Keep paperwork organized
- Keep a calendar for school events, IEP meetings, and teacher conferences, as well as any other meetings or appointments
- Start a communication log
- Keep track of all emails, phone calls, notes home, etc. I suggest keeping all of this in a binder and notating dates and times of each of these.
- Review the current IEP to make sure that it still fits all of your child’s needs
- Establish a before and after school routine
- Try to attend all school events. An involved parent is also an informed parent, and better capable of advocating for their child.