Preparing Your Child for Back to School

Fall is approaching quickly, which means one thing – BACK TO SCHOOL! Even if your child with special needs attended ESY, the full days and routine of regular school is a whole other entity. New teachers, peers, social situations, and many new academics to learn are just a few of the challenges children face each year when school begins. Here is a list of tips to help prepare your child for their upcoming school year.

Familiarize the Route to School

Whether you plan to drive your child, or take the bus, you may consider a dry run of the route to school. If your child will ride the bus, you can contact your town’s Department of Transportation and find out the route your child will take to school. You can then take test trips for a few days prior to the first day to familiarize him/her with the route.

Meet and Greet with the Teacher

Ask your child’s special education teacher if they can arrange a meeting with your child’s regular education teacher a week before school begins. This can be also an opportunity to tour the classroom, locate your child’s seat, and take pictures of items around the room that will be helpful during the transition process, such as the library nook, lockers, and where to place homework folders.

Request Academic Materials

Having a well-formed relationship with your child’s special education teacher is important for many reasons, but for this situation, it would be helpful to request academic material that your child would begin the year reviewing. By pre-exposing him/her to these supports and re-visiting skills from the previous year, your child will have an easier time easing into academics at the beginning of the year.

Play Dates with New Peers

Organize a play date between your child and peers that will be in his/her new class. A familiar playground (the school playground perhaps) or having peers to your house will keep the environment neutral and support your child navigating the area independently.

Re-establish School Routines

Set the clock to school mornings and enforce a school night bedtime. Even if you let your child sleep in or stay up a little later, at least it won’t be as shocking when back to school begins. Getting back to a school eating schedule in terms of time and food selection will also help prepare your child for back to school. If you have questions regarding when snack and lunch will be, reach out to your child’s teacher, and for information regarding lunch choices from the cafeteria, contact your school secretary or check the school website.

Count Down

Put up a calendar with the back to school date circled. For a couple of weeks prior to the first day, talk to your child each day about going back to school and what to expect. For some children, a social story would be helpful for them to review independently or with their parents. Incorporate pictures of their classroom, teachers, and peers as often as possible.


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5 Summer Activities to Engage Your Child with Special Needs

5 Summer Activities for Children With Special Needs

Summer break has long been enjoyed by children of all ages! It’s a time to relax and recharge before the new school year approaches. This break is a great time to reinforce skills your child learned throughout the year and generalize them to various environments and activities. Engage your child with special needs with the activities listed below, while continuing to support their learning outside of the classroom!

  1. Create exploration bins (Tupperware containers) filled with rice, pasta and water and fill with different fidgets and toys. Play a game of describing the toys and have your child look for them in the bin. Target verbs by having you child act out ‘pour, scoop, splash, play, swim’ with a toy in the bin. This is also a great way to introduce and discuss different textures and sensory items.
  1. Put together a driveway carnival with chalk, hula-hoops, basketball, bubbles, jump rope, bowling, bean bag toss and water toys. Invite some of your child’s classmates or neighborhood kids over to enjoy the fun! This is a perfect time to practice social skills, requesting and appropriate play in an interactive environment.
  1. A scavenger hunt is an easy activity to set up using toys and material from around your house. Adding riddles and inferences to the list of items will help support higher level thinking and problem solving skills.
  1. Making food together is a fantastic activity to do throughout the summer. Whether it’s individual pizzas or fruit kabobs, use this opportunity to target receptive and expressive ID, requesting and following directions.
  1. Take pictures throughout your summer break and help your child make a scrap book to show their classmates when they return to school in the fall. Have your child recall what is happening in each picture and add three specific pieces of information.

Do you have any suggestions for fun summer activities?  Leave a comment and we may include it in our next blog post!

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