Back to School Preparation When Your Child Has Special Needs

ages and stages

When your child has special needs, back to school preparation can be stressful for both of you. It may take a little more work, but adding a few extra steps to your back to school routine can pay off greatly in the long run.

Try these techniques to get the new school year off to a great start:

Tips and tricks for a great school year with your special needs child

1. Ask to tour the classroom and meet the teacher with your child. Many kids with special needs have more anxiety about a new classroom and new teacher than other students. Getting a preview of the new room before it is full of students can greatly decrease anxiety during your back to school preparation.

2. Take pictures! When you do go for a tour of the school, take your camera. Take photos of your child's journey from where he or she will get out of the bus/car following all the way through until they set foot in the classroom. Take pictures of their desk, where they put their coat and bag and anything else important they need to remember. When you get home you can put the pictures in order of how your child with experience his/her day. Reviewing the photos will help your child grasp the routine and become familiar with new surroundings.

Classroom photo for prepping students - Back to School With a Special Needs Child at Mom It Forward

3. Grab an old yearbook and take it apart. Once you know who will be in your child's class, help him or her locate those students in a yearbook, cut out their pictures and arrange them on their own special page so they can get familiar with who they will see each day.

4. Enlist support. Sending off your special needs child can be so nerve-wracking. Find someone in the building who will be a great advocate or liaison for your child. Maybe it's the secretary or librarian or a lunch mom. If you and your child know they have someone extra looking out for them each day you will both breathe easier Classroom tips for special needs students

5. Find peer buddies. Getting the support and friendship of other classmates can make a huge different in your child's life and in the lives of the kids who are working with them. Ask your child's teacher if there is a student or two in the class who displays good leadership skills or is especially kind. See if that student can buddy up with your child so you know they have someone to sit with at lunch and remind them to zip their school bag. A good peer buddy can be the key to success!

6. Try not to pass your nerves onto your child. This might be the hardest one to accomplish. As moms of special kiddos we carry so much worry for our children with us and our kids pick up on it. If we think the new school year is not going to be successful our kids might start feeling the same. Give it a chance, the new year might come with new (good) surprises!

How do you prepare your special needs child for school? Any special back to school preparation tricks that make it easier for your child?

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Jessica Watson is the mom to five, four in her arms and one in her heart. When she's not doing the minivan shuffle she's homeschooling her kiddos and cooking things they won't eat. She blogs with her heart on her sleeve at Four Plus an Angel, co-directs Listen To Your Mother Metro Detroit and writes for sites such as Huffington Post, Mamalode and SheKnows.

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