Back to School Tips for Parents of Children with Special Needs

Therapies and Resources for Children with Autism & Families

As they always seem to do, June and July have flown by in a flurry, filled with family gatherings, vacations, play dates, outings and much more. Perhaps your child participated in one of our Summer Camps and enjoyed experiencing new sights and activities across Greater Cleveland. However your family spent the summer, we hope you had a lot of fun—and some relaxation! While there are still a few weeks of summer break left, August has arrived, which means many children will be soon heading back to school.

This is an exciting time, but it can also be an anxious time of year for you as a parent, particularly if your child has special needs. There are jitters about your child adjusting back into the school routine, working with a new teacher, and socializing with a new group of peers. Keep these tips in mind to ease some of your anxieties and reduce your stress during this hectic back to school season:

Have a plan for organization. After the first day of school, your calendar will begin to fill up with IEP meetings, conferences with your child’s aides or teachers, school events and activities, and the list goes on. Along with a busy calendar comes a lot of paperwork! You will want to have a system already in place to store your documents, whether it is a filing cabinet or a special binder. It is easier to stay organized from day one rather than trying to organize an overwhelming pile of documents later on.

Remind your child and your entire family of the school year routine. Instead of waiting until the morning of the first day of school to discuss the routine, talk about it regularly as a family and practice it before school begins. This will help your child adjust to earlier bedtimes, earlier alarm clocks, and other changes to the summer routine.

Participate in Back to School events. Many schools will hold events like an Open House or a Meet the Teachers Day that are optional to attend, but may be a real benefit to you and your child. These are great opportunities for your child to become refamiliarized with the school environment and routine, such as being dropped off by a parent or the school bus, walking to his classroom, greeting his teacher, finding his seat, and so on. If for some reason your school does not offer any events prior to the first day of school, consider calling the principal or school administrator and requesting a time when you and your son or daughter could visit.

Remember to stay positive! We know this sounds easier than it really is sometimes, but a positive attitude is so essential to starting the new school year on the right track. Try to embrace the changes and opportunities that a new school year brings, which will in turn help your child feel more positive and confident in navigating the challenges of heading back to school.

Let us know how we can help! The experienced therapists at Peak Potential Therapy are here to provide support to you and your child during the school year. Contact us with questions or concerns.