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Back to School Tips for Parents of a Special Needs Child


Following a summer filled with pool outings, family vacations, or visits with friends, the prospect of going back to school can be daunting for a youngster. Imagine how much more so, then, for a child with special needs. Here are a few tips for parents that can help make the transition a bit smoother:

  • Keep yourself organized by setting up a binder for all paperwork, including meeting notices, documentation, a calendar of events, conferences, etc.
  • Start a communication log, keeping track of all phone calls, emails, meetings, etc., including dates and times.
  • Review your child's current Individualized Education Program (IEP) to make sure that you have a clear understanding of it. Check it periodically to see if it is still applicable to your child's needs.
  • Help relieve any apprehension by talking about the upcoming year and what your child might expect. Point out new classes or activities he or she can look forward to.
  • Communicate with the school if you have any questions or concerns, or if you have information to share about your child with the staff who will be working with them.
  • Establish before and after school routines, and discuss with your child changes that may take place once school starts. To help your child become accustomed, you may want to implement the changes before the first day of school.
  • Attend school events such as open house, parent-teacher conferences, etc., to familiarize yourself with the school and personnel that will be part of your child's life.


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