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Preparing Your Special Needs Child for the New School Year

Helpful Hints to Support Your Child

• Ensure that your child’s IEP presents a good picture of who he/she is and what he/she needs
• Talk about the change with your child and what they can expect. Make it as positive as possible. Your child will get their first impressions from you.
• Develop a social story about the new school and the expected changes for your child. Include actual photographs, if possible.
• Some schools have very nice web sites. If your child is computer savvy, visit the web.
• Plan to visit the new site over the summer, maybe even several times. Walk the campus, visit the office, meet the office staff (Principal, ESE Spec, Support Facilitator, etc). If your child will require a “safe person or place”, make sure that they meet that person and visit that location prior to day one of school.
• Schedule a classroom visit the week before school begins with the ESE Specialist at the school. This will allow your child to visit their new room (and teacher) without the distractions of all of the other students.
• If your child is a middle or high schooler who will be changing classes, make sure to get a copy of the class schedule, walk the classes, as well as visit the lunchroom, cafeteria, gym and rest rooms.
• Create a “Snapshot of My Child”/”Day in the Life” letter for the teacher. As we all know, the IEP can be a very daunting document. Developing a synopsis of who your child is offers the teacher a quick overview of what she/he can expect and what works best for him/her. It is as important to prepare your teacher as it is your child.
• Call the school during the summer to ensure that all specially designed/adaptive equipment for your child has been transferred to the new school site, as well as any technology that they need.
• Attend the Orientation held at the school prior to school beginning. Plan to get involved in your school (ie, PTA, SAF/SAC, School Volunteer, etc).