The calendar has quickly wound its way down to August and back to school season. Balancing your special needs child’s schedule as well as yours can always be stressful – and let’s be honest, it will be! – but we have a few tips on how to keep calm this year. From staying on top of the easy stuff to making morning routines just a little bit easier, you can definitely find a way to make this school year flow for you and your child. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back!
It may seem like everything is fast approaching, but you can slow it down just a little by keeping track of the small things first. Of course, you should always stay in contact with your child’s teacher(s)! You’ll want to stay in the know about weekly activities and how your child is performing in class. Parent-teacher conferences are easily scheduled for elementary school-aged children, and we recommend you keep them in your schedule. A quick thirty minutes with your child’s teacher is a great way to stay updated on his or her activity throughout the school day. For children in middle or high school, parent-teacher conferences may not always be easily scheduled due to having more teachers throughout the day for some children, but you can always email your child’s teacher(s) or set up a meeting with their school counselor if necessary.
It is important to follow up with your child’s IEP as well. You should make sure that it is being followed throughout the school year and that any updates you may have made are being implemented as well. If you feel the need to review it, don’t hesitate! Make sure that it is accommodating to your child and find what works best. You may also want to speak to your child’s teacher(s) about integrating a comfortable seating arrangement and including a break from classroom activities when they have become overstimulated. For children that are easily overstimulated due to sensory issues, you may want to implement the use of headphones with quiet classical music to reduce auditory distractions. Some children may also have trouble paying attention, which could be helped with appropriate seating. Sitting at the front of the classroom in a corner seat is often helpful to reduce distraction and to maintain your child’s attention. You and your child’s teachers’ top priority is to help your child learn and develop everyday skills, so it is important to create an environment that will help them do just that!
Not only should you focus on your child’s performance at school, but their performance at home as well! A visual routine could be very helpful in setting an example of how every day will be. A visual routine is a way to show your child what they will be doing throughout the day and to get them accustomed to a regular routine. You may want to take pictures of tools or items in the classroom rather than using cartoon pictures to create the connection with your child. Go over what they may be doing or using during class time. Making your child comfortable with these things will make you more comfortable that they are doing great in a classroom setting and reduce some stress you may have. A visual routine could also be helpful for getting ready in the morning as well. We all know that the morning routine can get extremely stressful, especially with a special needs child that may need more help getting ready. Take pictures of activities you and your child will do every morning and practice these activities in the order they go in to make getting ready more comfortable. Include the basics, such as brushing teeth and hair, as well as getting dressed and packing up to go.
Planning ahead is a fantastic way to reduce the time it takes to get out the door in the morning, too! Lay out the next day’s outfit the night before, and plan the morning’s breakfast with a picky eater. Make your routine interactive! Have your child perform basic chores and include a balanced sensory diet every day in order to encourage interaction in the classroom and improve their attention to the teacher during instruction. Learning is so valuable to any child, and it’s important to make sure they can do it to the best of their ability!
At the end of the day, both you and your child will probably be at least a little stressed out or tired, so it’s always a good idea to find ways to de-stress and make the day easier. Here at Helping Hands, we understand how getting back to school can be hectic, but we sure hope that our tips might help make your day a little bit easier.
Thank you for reading! Check back next week for an updated post.