- Before school starts, try to visit the school and classroom. Do a tour to familiarize your child with the school layout, including the gym, library, and outdoor spaces.
- While on a school tour, look for any potential issues that may arise in the environment – make staff aware if adaptations to the environment need to be made.
- Try to meet the teachers, integration support team, administrative support staff, and the principal before school starts. This will help lessen anxiety.
- Start getting up early before the first day of school, so that your child will be used to the routine.
- Create a one-page info sheet about your child’s needs, preferences, and interests. This will help the team engage with your child and better understand the challenges your child faces. This sheet could also be used for substitute teachers during the school year.
- With your child, review the school calendar, routines, and expectations so that there won’t be any surprises.
- Discuss the transition with your current team of therapists as they may have some great tips.
- Make sure your child has any adaptive equipment and materials that are needed eg. special scissors, adapted pencils, adapted footwear/clothes, or assistive technology
- Identify any same-grade peers that may be a good buddy for your child and let the school staff know.
- Make it fun! For younger students, read books about going back to school, do something special on the first day of school, and try to make the transition as enjoyable as possible.
About the Author:
Melissa Lyon is a disability consultant for the Cerebral Palsy Association of BC. She has a master’s degree in Special Education and has worked hard to get to where she is now. As a person with mild cerebral palsy and epilepsy, Melissa is a strong advocate for people with disabilities. When not working, Melissa enjoys doing karate, where she is working on getting her black belt.