While most kids do not like to hear that school is almost around the corner, it is helpful for parents to be aware of this and to start to prepare for how to have a successful year. Below are some tips that can be helpful for the time leading up to school and when it first starts:
- Take advantage of any transitional steps into the classroom so that the first day of school is not the first time your child is seeing the building. This could include playing on the school playground, walking around the building if it’s open, contacting the office to see when teachers/staff are back and arranging a visit to see the class or meet the teacher, etc.
- If you know of any peers who will be in the same class, set up some playdates close to when school starts (maybe even on the school playground).
- Be proactive in contacting your school team and advocating for setting up a meeting. If this can happen before school starts, that’s great! If not, try to get one set up as early as possible once school is in session. Emphasize that this does not need to be a formal IEP or 504 Plan meeting, which typically takes longer to arrange and involves more people. This can be a more informal meeting with one or two key people from school (i.e. principal or teacher or counselor) to just touch base about concerns and plans and set the stage for more formal meetings that may need to happen involving the larger team.
- If you are working with a treating professional, connect with them around how they can be in communication with school, as schools are often more responsive to concerns and plans when they are communicated by professional colleagues.
- Hopefully, your child’s teacher will be a main advocate and source of support this year. Be in touch with the teacher in person, by phone, by email, or by letter to ask if you could set up a time to just talk with them and tell them more about what’s going on so that they can have the knowledge they need to best teach and support your child.
Wishing you and your family a wonderful start to the new school year,
Becca Laptook, Ph.D.
SMA Board of Directors