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Back to School

Susan GriffithWhat Parents of Children with Special Needs Can Do to Ensure a Smooth Transition
Pencils, notebooks, calculators, backpacks, lunch boxes.  There are so many things parents begin to organize as the beginning of the school year approaches.  In addition to the tangibles, there are important things parents can do to set up a successful transition for both their child and themselves.

Introduce Yourself.
Have you already met the new teachers?  Do they have any questions about your child's Individualized Education Plan (IEP)?  Depending on what grade your child is entering, or the program they attend, there may be new faces this year and introducing yourself early can help promote communication from day one.  Email the teacher or staff and set up a time that you can talk about your child's summer, likes, dislikes, and goals. 

Refresh Your Memory.
Chances are, your child's IEP has been set aside for the summer.  Unless your child had summer services or Extended School Year (ESY), you may not remember exactly what academic or functional goals your child will focus on this school year.  Does your child's schedule align with the IEP?  Refresh your memory and focus on this year's growth!

A week or two before school starts, take a test drive with your child to the school and talk about what it might look like on the first day of school.  Will your child ride a bus? Carpool with friends? Walk?  Begin preparing your child to consider the excitement and challenges that go along with transportation.  If you can get in to the building, help your child practice their locker combination or find their classroom and lunchroom. 

Identify Essentials.
It is so easy to get caught up in the excitement of school supplies.  Think about what your child really needs before you shop.  Elementary teachers typically send lists of materials they recommend.  For children with disabilities, sometimes less distraction and reducing the amount of "stuff" to carry is helpful.

For more information on New Story Schools, you can reach Susan Griffith at sgriffith@newstory.com or 724-463-5390 ext 233 or visit the website www.newstory.com.

Susan Griffith, D.Ed is the Regional Director of Education at New Story Schools. Her career includes teaching first, second, and fifth grade elementary school, high school special education and special education courses at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Susan is involved in the operations and quality of New Story schools located in Monroeville, Indiana, DuBois and Clearfield (New Story's western region).

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