First, you will want to start preparing your child to go back to school starting at least two, if not three or more, weeks ahead of time. Unless of course you and your child want to have a rocky start to the next school year …
Since I’m sure you will want to avoid this, begin by changing your summer schedule and visuals to include wake up times and bed times adjusted to the times for your child’s schedule come the school year. You can start slowly by first going to bed and waking up 10 minutes earlier, increasing the time every few days.
Schedule this time cut with at least one week of being completely adjusted to the goal wake up time and bedtime prior to the deadline. Eating breakfast, morning grooming activities (brushing teeth and combing hair), and getting dressed on time should definitely be included in the school year transition schedule! Practice these ahead of time to ensure your child will not become overwhelmed by the transition into the Fall routine.
Second, schedule all medical appointments, as required for school physicals and such, in the middle of summer, versus the end of summer. Keep in mind that you will be busy preparing for the school year in the final weeks of summer. Scheduling these appointments early will save you some time and prevent the panic of getting these done at the last minute. To ensure you remember to schedule these, go ahead and call for the appointments now to get them on the calendar. If you’re worried about the possibility of needing to reschedule them due to unknown schedules at the moment, that’s ok. Scheduling them now will remind you of their importance to get them done early.
Third, look over your child’s IEP as a refresher. A few weeks prior to school starting, you can easily attempt some of the goals with your child at home. This can also help your child to transition back into the school year, as well as prevent summer learning loss.
If your child has a history of forgetting what they have learned during school breaks, you can plan on doing this over the entire summer as well by adding it to your schedule at the same times and/or days each week. You can also use this time period as an opportunity to get back into the homework grind. You can go to ABCteach to find great age-appropriate worksheets to start doing with your child at your designated homework time.
If your child has therapists or related professionals in their lives, ask them to incorporate homework goals into your child’s program if homework is an issue. If your child has a hard time doing homework with you or another parent in the household, ask for a generalization program and parent trainings to help. It always pays to be on board with your child’s therapy programs and they can offer more insight with helpful strategies you can use to overcome the “homework war zone.”
– Michelle O’Neill, AHSS Lead Skills Coach and mother to a special needs child, plus 2!