Summer is over and went by too fast! In order to help you and your child with an IEP be as successful as you can be for the new school year, I've put together a short list of 5 back-to-school tips to help make the transition into a new school year a positive one!
1. Organize all the paperwork and review last years IEP:
The IEP in special education is the foundational plan for your child's educational program. Make sure to review the document before school starts, have a clear understanding of it, review those educational goals and mark down important dates on your calendar. Consider organizing everything in an IEP binder for home where you can store all the paperwork and a home/school communication log. Most importantly, children are ever changing and growing so be sure that this IEP still "fits" your child's current needs! If you are unsure, you can always contact your school team about holding an IEP review meeting.
2. Communicate and keep everyone informed:
Don't wait to the last minute to contact your child's school team. If you feel that over the summer there are any new concerns, changes, progress or questions regarding your child over the summer, don't hesitate to contact the school team a few weeks before the first day! The more honest and proactive you are, the better your school will be able to meet your child's needs.
3. Establish and practice the new school routine with your child:
Consider practicing the new daily school routine with your child before the first day. Focus on the morning and evening routines at home. Even better, if you can, visit the school, tour the new classrooms, meet the teachers to help with transitions or ease back to school jitters for your child.
4. Create some visuals for your child:
While you are at the school, snap some pictures of your child's teacher, classroom and other important areas of the school. Some children process information and transitions better when the are presented with visuals. This can also help with the emotional processing of the big changes coming up!
5. Make an "All About Me" sheet that you can share with the school team:
Balance the IEP and back to school meetings with a fun sheet that you can share with the teachers. Include on it a picture of your child & quick, easy facts/tips about your child such as: "what I am good at", "what keeps me motivated", "what bothers me," etc. You are an expert on your child, so be sure that the school team hears from you about what works!