As summer comes to a close, we have been gearing up to get ready to get into the swing of school and rolling into the season of fall. Back to school is so much more than just the simple thought of heading back to school. For Cody, we start about 30 days before to ensure he adjusts to the new changes, schedule and overcome any anxiety challenges.
This fall his weekly schedule will include:
- 13 hours of Kindergarten/Communications Class and will have 2 sessions of speech, 1 session of music, OT and gross motor lab.
- 38 hours of ABA therapy.
- 2 outside speech sessions focused on Apraxia and his communication device.
- 1 hours of equine therapy.
Here were a few tips we practiced to make it an easier transition.
- We talked about school a lot especially during meal time. It’s the simplest tip, and perhaps the most important one to help reduce anxiety.
- First year to eat lunch at school so we practiced taking lunch box from backpack, using lunch box and then placing it back in backpack.
- At the start of August, we crossed days off on our calendar. Some children may have anxiety about when the school year begins. Simply crossing days off the calendar may help your child better understand when the school year starts.
- 5 days ago, we created a new morning routine and did a few run-throughs prior to the start of the school year. We made Monday – Sunday plastic bins so Cody could select his clothes and self-dress. Most of his new clothes, we have already worn so he feels comfortable in them. We also target the shorts that have a hook or snap so he can easily use the restroom with little support.
- We created a few visual schedules for brushing teeth, chores and washing hands too.
- We attended Meet the Teacher. When you go to the school, visit all common areas; main office, bathrooms, cafeteria, gym, library, playground, and any room your child may spend time in during the coming year.
- Next year, he may attend a different class room so I plan to request to take pictures of the common areas and incorporate them into a social story so that Cody and I can review it during the summer (a social story is a book that a parent or teacher creates to explain in written and/or pictorial detail what the child should expect at school.
- We also took a photo and added all of Cody’s educators to his communication device a head of time.
- Share your child’s strengths, weaknesses, possible new sensory issues, dietary restrictions, and favorite reinforcers at Meet the Teacher or put them in writing and send before school starts. Be sure to include everyone that comes in contact with your kiddo. (Music, OT, Speech, Para’s, PE, Gross Motor, Nurse, etc.) I have wonderful teachers and we have a strong communication bridge already established.
- If your child uses a communication device to communicate, make sure all educators in their classroom are familiar with it. All the Para’s who will work with your child should be trained as well, and there should be a plan in place so that all are comfortable using the device within the first few weeks of school.
- This year I plan to write a thank-you note to Cody’s teacher and principal after the first few weeks of school if the first few weeks go smoothly. It never hurts to thank those responsible for a smooth transition.