Checklist are coming out, school supplies are flooding your local Target: what time is it? It's time for "back to school". (This is a Bubble Guppies reference courtesy of our three year old)
In many ways, preparing for your student with disabilities to return to school after summer break is the same as preparing a student who does not have a disability. However, the following items are some important steps that you can take to help start the year off on a good note:
1. Communication: Engage in open communication with the school and teachers to discuss your student's specific needs and challenges. Share any updates or changes in your student's condition or requirements.
2. Review IEP/504 Plan: If applicable, review the Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan to ensure it reflects your student's current needs and outlines necessary accommodations and support.
3. Social Stories: Consider using social stories or visual aids to help your student understand the changes they might encounter at school and how to adapt to them.
4. Gradual Transition: If possible, arrange for a gradual transition back to school, allowing your student to become familiar with the environment before the full return.
5. Collaborate with Therapists: Coordinate with any therapists your student works with to develop strategies that can be implemented at school to support their learning and well-being.
6. Discuss with Peers: If appropriate, talk with your student's peers about their disabilities, fostering an inclusive and supportive classroom environment.
7. Build Confidence: Encourage your student's self-advocacy skills and build their confidence in expressing their needs to teachers and peers.
8. Address Safety Concerns: Address any health and safety concerns, especially if your student has specific medical needs that require attention during the pandemic or other health-related issues.
9. Support at Home: Continue providing support at home to reinforce learning and social skills, as well as to help manage any anxieties or uncertainties your student might have.
10. Monitor Progress: Regularly monitor your student's progress and well-being once they return to school, and maintain communication with teachers to address any ongoing needs.
Remember that each student's needs are unique, so it's essential to tailor the preparation process to suit your student's specific situation and requirements.