Welcome Back to School!
by Susan Threinen
It’s that time of year again. Time for aisle upon aisle of school supplies, brightly colored backpacks, and harried parents referring to multiple “back to school” checklists, hoping that this is the last store they will have to go to.
Getting a child ready to go back to school, no matter the age, is a time-consuming process. For a parent of a child with a disability, including vision loss, this preparation process is even more complex.
In addition to the registration forms, health forms, physicals, and shot records that need to be completed and submitted, there is also the IEP to look over to ensure that you know what services your child is receiving during the upcoming school year. Many students have a new team – whether some new members or a completely new team – which may require holding a team meeting so everyone can get to know each other and the student.
Here are some things to consider as you plan your child’s return to school this fall:
- Skim over the IEP, just to confirm what services your child is going to receive.
- Connect with the school and see if you and your child can come to the school to familiarize the child with the layout of classrooms and specialty rooms, such as the gym and cafeteria before students are roaming the halls.
- Check in with your child. How are they feeling about going back to school? Do they feel ready? Is there anything you can do to help them get ready? If the student is old enough, you can review the expanded core curriculum areas of self-determination, social interactions, and rec and leisure opportunities that may be available.
- Make sure that all assistive/adaptive technology that came home for the summer is ready to return with your child on the first day of school.
- Go over the “back to school schedule” so the child knows when the alarm will go off, when their ride/bus comes, and what happens after school each day.
- Don’t forget to BREATHE. Being a parent is the hardest job in the world and sending your child off into other people’s care for the day/week/school year is not always an easy thing to do, regardless of their age.
As the teenagers in my house say: “you got this!” And you do. You’ve got this.
“Behind every young child who believes in himself is a parent who believed first.” Author unknown