Can you believe summer is over already?? Some of you may be excited; some of you may be nervous; others may be sad. But no matter how you feel, you are likely to get overwhelmed at some point. There are lots of transitions that occur with the start of a new school year: new faces, new curriculum, new schedule, new everything. Don’t worry, though, because we’ve got you covered on approaching the school year headfirst, especially when it comes to working with your team.
- TEAMWORK. Working together is such an important factor in your child’s success. And it starts with you. Parents are most definitely part of the TEAM. Get to know your child’s team as soon as you can. Though you may already know a few familiar faces (oftentimes, SLPs and OTs remain constant across ages), be sure to send a friendly email or even drop by the office just to say “Hi” and “Welcome back!” It’s always better to approach someone (especially if you don’t know them that well) when things are good, rather than having to introduce yourself if and when a problem or concern arises. This way, you’ve made yourself a familiar face.
- PREPARATION. If your child has a difficult time with transitions, you know that prepping them is probably a good idea. Use visuals like a poster-type schedule that you can put up in a regular location to remind them what will be coming up that day. There are some schedule apps available as well if that might be more motivating to your child. Check out: Choiceworks Calendar, First & Then, and iPrompts.
- MEETING. If anything has changed over the summer that you think your child’s team should know and should be formally discussed, contact the school for an IEP meeting. Anyone from the team can call one at anytime (remember, you are an important part of the team). This will give you the opportunity to adjust any goal areas or accommodations as needed. If your child does not have a current IEP but you would like to explore the option of them having one, raise the concern and get the ball rolling. It can take quite a bit of time for your child to get the services they need as usually 2-3 meetings will need to happen before your child can receive services. This varies by state and county but check in with your school or your district’s website for additional information.
- POSITIVITY. You’d be surprised what kids can pick up, given the energy around them. No matter what age, it’s pretty interesting that a child’s current behavior may be affected by the attitude of those around them. Encourage your child, send positive thoughts their way, and work on “I can” statements. You’d be surprised just how motivating these last few suggestions can be. And motivation is the catalyst to success.
- HAVE FUN! This one goes along with the last tip. Your child may be growing up, but this is a good thing! Take pictures, make videos, write a journal (can be challenging and successful moments), cherish each moment, and try not to sweat the small stuff. Easier said than done – but it’s great to see how your child grows over the course of time. Growing pains are natural so it won’t always be rainbows and sunshine but just trust that it’s all happening in a way that will work out in the end!
Have a great school year!!