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Preparing Yourself and Your Special Needs Child for School.

As a new school year is quickly approaching it is time to start preparing yourself and your special needs child for the school year

Every new school year begins with excitement and a bit of intrepidation for the parent and especially our special needs children.

It is important to prepare and put together a plan for our special needs children.

I wanted to share some tips for preparing yourself and your special needs child for the school year.

Some Simple Reminders

First I wanted to share a few simple reminders of things that are often forgotten in times of stress.

A calm parent often means a calm child.

As parents of special needs children we are no stranger to stress.

Especially during recent times, there is a lot of stress possibly not knowing exactly what your child’s school will look like or what services they will be missing.

You may think your child is not in tune to your stress or anxiety but they are and it can bring on certain behaviors and tantrums.

It is important for parents to remain calm.

One way to do that is to use breathing techniques in order to help remain calm.

Here is an example of some simple breathing practices.

These breathing exercises are great for relaxation and using when you need to remain calm.

This obviously can be used anytime not just when school is starting.

Another great way to begin prepping yourself and your child for school is working toward a regular schedule.

Simple Tips for Back to School Prep

There are some simple tips, some I am sure you have heard every year prior to the new school year.

The first is adjusting your sleep and wake times in order to prepare for the school year ahead.

Children on the spectrum like most children work best with a routine.

You can begin by putting a plan together to begin adjusting their bed time routine.

Begin in 15 minute increments, 5 days per week over several weeks.

Within a few short weeks you will have yourself and your child prepared for the school year schedule.

By doing this you get yourself and your child ready for the new school year schedule while keeping things calm when transitioning.

Consider things that your child will face in the new school year, such as combination locks.

Using the example of combination locks, have your child practice daily with the lock so that by the time they are in school and have to use it they will be prepared.

The practice helps to create the routine of using the combination lock.

Doing this practice is a great way to help reduce your child’s anxiety by having them in a routine of opening the lock.

Some other things you can do to help prepare.

Preparing School Items

These are also some things you can do to prepare school items you may not have thought of:

  • wash all new clothes, several times if they are particularly stiff
  • cut out any tags
  • purchase noise blocking headphones if needed
  • purchase new chewy if your child uses one

By preparing these things in advance you are set to go so things can go as smoothly as possible when school starts.

There of course will always be situations that arise that are not possible to prepare for with autistic children.

Doing as much as you can in advance with the plan you put together will help the mornings to go smoother.

Here are some other things to remember when you put together your preparation plan.

Things to Remember

It is important to do what we can to prepare ourselves and our special needs children for school.

Some other things to do or remember:

  • keep things simple for your child
  • break task into simple steps
  • use things that they love as motivation for school work
  • incorporate visual structure
  • be consistent
  • use a daily visual schedule
  • reward proper use of the schedule with reward and praise
  • make the schedule fun

Prepare a Social Story

Using a template to help your child write out a social story about themselves and their school day will help them visualize their day.

You can use a template or create your own.

Another great idea is to put together an “All about me” page where you share your child’s interest, what he likes and dislikes, things that work at home for calming your child and ways he shows signs of stress.

Sharing this page with your child’s teacher will not only help you feel that the school is prepared for your child but your child will feel that the teacher knows them prior to arriving.

All of these simple tips will help in preparing yourself and your special needs child for school.

Till next time



Sonya Burgess

Sonya is graduate of Guilford College and a preschool teacher who lives at the North Carolina coast with her husband of 25 years, their three children ages 19,18,12 and their rescue dog Goldie. Her youngest child was recently diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum and she has a heart for encouraging other special needs mamas. One of her favorite out door activities is hanging out at the beach with her family searching for sea glass. She also enjoys doing diy projects and decorating her home on a budget. Sonya blogs at encouraging women to create a beautiful, intentional life and home.

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