Tips to Prepare Families for a New School Year

Clinical Expertise

Aug 31, 2019

A Grown-Up’s Study Guide to ESE:  Tips to Prepare Families for a New School Year

As children head back to school after their summer break, parents are settling into the routine of the new school year.  Parents who have a child in Exceptional Student Education (ESE), often anticipate the new year with some trepidation. How will this year be different? What can I do to ensure my child has the best opportunities for academic success?  Am I prepared to advocate for my child? The following tips will help prepare you and your child.  

Get Organized!  If you are not already using a binder to organize important school related papers, it is time to get started.  Binders are the perfect place to keep key documents like school records, work samples, medical information and correspondences so they are easily accessible. Imagine everyone’s surprise when you walk into the next school meeting with your well-organized binder full of relevant school information…all at your fingertips! You can find information on setting up your binder at www.understood.org/en/school-learning/special-services/ieps/download-iep-binder-checklist. This website also offers free printable resources like IEP Binder Checklist and Parent-School Communication Log.  

Do Your Homework!  Do you really know what information is in your child’s Individual Educational Plan (IEP)? Did you know certain information is legally required to be in every IEP? Does the information in your child’s IEP specifically address his/her individual educational needs or does the information seem vague? The IEP should clearly state your child’s present academic and functional levels as well as their annual goals. The goals should be measurable and the IEP should include how and when the goals will be measured. Your child’s IEP should identify special education and related services as well as any accommodations needed to meet their IEP goals. If you are uncertain about any part of your child’s IEP, it is time to do your homework!  Start by learning the basics of an IEP and then make sure your child’s IEP addresses his/her individual educational needs. www.wrightslaw.com/advoc/articles/iep.success.bateman.htm, www.readingrockets.org/article/closer-look-iep, www.parentcenterhub.org/iepcontents/#contents 

Routines Rule! Routines are important for all children but particularly for children with special needs. Transitioning from a more relaxed summer routine to a highly structured school day can be difficult. To help ease the transition, begin adding more routine and structure to your child’s day. Also, remember children of all ages need adequate sleep in order to do their best at school. Resuming an appropriate bedtime routine will help make the first weeks of school easier for everyone. 

Spending time now preparing will put both you and your child on track for a successful 2019-2020 school year. www.readingrockets.org/article/back-school-tips-parents-children-special-needs, www.friendshipcircle.org/blog/2016/08/08/5-tips-to-prepare-your-autistic-child-for-the-school-year/