Special Needs Transition Back to School

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By, Lauren Kolacki

Getting your child ready for back to school can be difficult no matter their age. School clothes, supplies and getting them back into a routine after a summer of sleeping in and play dates. This can be challenging for any child, but especially one with special needs. Specialists suggest a series of steps to take in the weeks before the first day of school to assure an easier adjustment.
In the weeks leading up to the first day of school, try getting your child back on a fixed sleep schedule. Each night has your child start going to bed a little earlier until they are used to their regular bed time. If your child takes specific medicine during the school year, speak to your doctor about having them start that back up again. Be sure to start reintroducing any part of your school year routine that may have been lost in the summer haze.
Remind your child what they like about school; certain subjects, certain people. Be mindful of the worries they may have and assure them that you will resolve them together. Have your child reconnect with some of their friends or children that will be in their class. This will give them something to look forward too as the school year approaches.
Most teachers will begin the school year reminiscing on the summer. Help your child to be ready. Discuss some of the best adventures they went on, meals they ate, friends they saw. Then when the topic is brought up in the classroom, they will feel more confident to speak about it.
The best way to ease your child’s anxiety is to let them know what to expect. Go over their fall schedule with them. School days, events, extracurricular activities, family outings. Once they know what the months ahead look like, they can mentally prepare themselves.
When it comes to school work, if you are unable to efficiently aid, find somebody who can. And most importantly, make sure your child knows that they can always come to you. Always give them the chance to discuss how they are feeling or what they worry about.