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Getting Children with Special Needs Ready for School

Both children and parents are met with challenges when it’s time for their child to go back to school; however, for children who have a disability, the new routine, teachers and changes can make it a bit more difficult. have teamed up with to help you tackle some of the common back-to-school challenges…

1. Routine

Going back to school or even starting a new one can be daunting for some children. Changes in routine such as waking up earlier and spending several hours away from family can be difficult. Going to school shouldn’t have to feel scary; it should be a safe space for your child to learn and develop. We all know that waking up early for school isn’t fun, but to make it more comfortable for your child, we recommend adapting routines a week or so beforehand. By the time term comes around, the new way of doing things will hopefully feel natural for your child.

If they try to stay up past their new bedtime, think about why this is. Is your child anxious about change or are they distracted? Overstimulation can be a big problem for many children; if toys are left out near their bed, then they might want to play instead of sleep. Make sure that toys and distractions are put away; as the saying goes, out of sight, out of mind.

2. Shopping

Going back to school means a shopping trip is in order which is a fantastic way to get your child excited about school. Not only can a school shopping trip be made fun it will also help with organising their things.  

Going back to school means new school uniform; unfortunately, they can be uncomfortable and made with irritating fabric such as polyester. Clothing like this isn’t going to help your child to feel at ease when dealing with change. have created a polo shirt just in time for school to avoid distress; it is also available with tube access.

Image: Daiga Ellaby / Unsplash.

3. Meals

As well as changing your child’s routine so that they eat lunch at a new time, you could let them pick out a fun lunch-box and some of their favourite snacks! Not only is this another great way to make them feel excited about school (we all know lunch is the best part), it also gives you the chance to talk about healthy foods and maybe even teach them a few skills in the kitchen. Why not check out the recipes; their delicious popcorn falafel is a perfect bite-sized snack for lunchboxes!

4. Skills

After the big summer holiday, it’s easy for your child to forget essential English and Maths skills. Before school begins again, try to get your child to work on these skills; why not make it into a game so that it’s a fun activity rather than hard work? For example, if they need to improve their spelling, why not give them magnets so they can leave messages on the refrigerator? Or if they need to revise the times tables, set up a reward system for the time spent doing so; this can be anything from a trip to the park or letting them choose what’s for dinner.

Try to implement study time into each day to get your child ready for when they need to complete homework. Review the work they have done and need to finish and ask what they enjoyed about the task and what they didn’t. It will help you to find their strengths and skills that need developing. Doing this is helpful so that you can pinpoint how to support them and talk to your child’s teachers about how they can help too.

Image: Jason Leung / Unsplash.

5. Teachers

Talking to the teachers can be useful; finding out information such as what to expect from this year’s curriculum and if they have noticed any academic or social skills that need to be improved can be a big help. Attend events such as parent evenings to keep up to date with your child’s learning and behaviour. Not only is this an excellent way for you to help your child, but for the teachers to be aware of how they can support and encourage your child to be the best they can be.

6. Organisation

Getting ready for school a few days in advance can be helpful. Pack your child’s school bag early prevents having to rush about on the day of school: we recommend using a bag with plenty of pockets so that your child can easily find their belongings. It’s the little things like this that can make a big difference. support parents of special needs children who need a helping hand. Check out our other blogs for more tips and tricks.

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