Making the Transition Back to School: Helping Kids with Special Needs
Aug. 21, 2017
The new school year is right around the corner, and kids and parents everywhere are preparing to go back to school! For many kids, this is an exciting time as kids are hopeful for another great school year. For others, the back-to-school season could be overwhelming, and fraught with anxiety. Kids with special needs sometimes need extra help to make the transition back to school. Luckily there are many strategies to help ease the transition, making back-to-school run as smoothly as possible.
5 Strategies to Ease Back into School
Take a look at the below strategies, and depending on your child’s individual needs, you can make a game plan to ensure your child is ready for the first day of school.
Routines at home
Some kids need help beyond basic academic support. For kids who are anxious to go back to school, make sure to prepare slowly over time. Start introducing routines that will be in place once school starts. This can mean getting your child to bed earlier, earlier wake-ups, and sticking to a schedule like the one that he’ll soon follow. Talk about going back to school openly with your child and have an honest conversation about any fears or anxiety.
Speaking of having a conversation, you might find social stories to be an excellent tool to help ease any anxiety your child might have about going back to school. Social stories are individualized stories to help your child face a social scenario, like going back to school.
Create short scenarios for your child, imagining what she might experience when she gets back to school. These stories don’t have to be long, and you can work together on the story, and create a small storybook to read with your child. This will help your child become more comfortable with the idea of going back to school, creating a sense of preparedness.
Arranging a visit
If your child needs even more support, it’s worthwhile to communicate this with your child’s school. In many cases, it’s possible to arrange for a visit to your child’s school. Meeting the new teacher, and exploring the classroom might ease tensions about going back to school. If you arrange for a special visit, try to work in details from your visit into the social stories you create with your child. This will provide meaningful support to any child anxious about stepping foot into a new classroom with a new teacher.
Gifted kids have needs, too
Your child might need support not listed here. For instance, if your child has special needs because he or she is gifted, you might notice that your child is apprehensive to go back to school for an entirely different reason—boredom. In that case, apps, books, and learning games that stimulate your child’s interests and challenges his knowledge and abilities can help make going back to school less loathsome.
Also, if you haven’t, be sure to have your child tested for giftedness and inquire about any gifted programs your school or district may have. This will keep your little learner stimulated in school, and less prone to boredom while there.
Besides your own social stories, there are a plethora of books you and your child can read to prepare for going back to school. Check out your nearest library or discount book store to find a title or two that is appropriate for your child’s needs. The name of the game is preparing your child in a way that lessens any anxiety and makes him feel more comfortable about changing from the summer routine to a new classroom setting.
No matter your child’s needs, there’s a strategy to help make the transition as smooth as possible. All kids are different, and depending on your child’s needs, there’s a way to make this back-to-school season the best one yet!
Learning Games for Children with Disabilities
If your child has a learning disability, there’s an app for that! Apps for children with special needs are crucial to help kids get the extra practice they need, in a positive and engaging way. If kids are aware that they have a learning disability, this can wreak havoc on their self-esteem. To find apps that best suit your child’s needs, check out our list of must-have apps for back-to-school!
Tedious pull-out session at school can be a dead giveaway that he or she has special needs that other kids may pick on. To support your learner in positive way, learning apps help kids get extra practice in a way that’s fun, and your child won’t even know they’re working hard.