For most students, the past couple months have flown by! But summer is drawing to a close and a new school year is right around the corner, along with new routines, new teachers, and new classes. It’s a lot for any kid, but for children with special needs, it can be an overwhelming amount of “new.”
Whether your child was home schooled, participated in digital learning, or attended school in-person, this year will once again probably require a little adjustment as we transition from summer vacation mode into the academic year.
At Innovative Behavior Options, we see challenges with the summer to school year transition with many of our ABA therapy clients. So today we’d like to share a list of steps that might help parents and caregivers as you ease your children back into the swing of things this school year.
Build a New Morning Routine
Over the summer, we tend to stay up and sleep in a bit later, so a new morning routine for the school year is a must! Try to gradually adjust bedtime and wake up times over the last couple weeks in July to help your kiddo ease into it. We also recommend doing a “dress rehearsal” near the end of summer so your child knows what to expect before heading off to school.
Create a Visual Schedule
A visual schedule is the perfect way to introduce your new morning routine and to begin to help your child walk through what a new school day might look like. You probably won’t know every detail of your kiddo’s upcoming days, but talking through even part of the day can help ease any fear or anxiety.
If possible, reach out to your child’s case manager for a daily schedule, and when you make your classroom visit, follow the schedule.
Tour the School
Schools may still be working out details for this year’s meet-and-greet, but if you’re given the opportunity, request to tour the school during off-hours from the bigger crowd (it can be busy and overwhelming for children with special needs).
Ask if you’re able to meet your child’s teacher(s) and any other administrators that your child might be working with during the year. While on the tour, visit the main office, bathrooms, gym, lunchroom, library and playground so your child has the ability to see all the places they may spend time during the upcoming year.
Talk Up the New Experience!
If you’re excited about the upcoming school year, chances are your child will be, too! Talk about the fun things he or she will get to do at school and really focus on any of your child’s major interests, whether it’s reading, math, or creating new art projects. Focusing on the positive will help everyone start the year with the right mindset.
Of course, as we adjust to a new routine and a new experience, it can take time to feel comfortable. Remember to be patient with your child. Open up communication between you, your child, and your child’s teachers so everyone is on the same page and working toward your kiddo’s success.
At IBO, we design ABA therapy programs and work hand-in-hand with clients, parents, and school staff to build a team. If your new school year routine includes ABA therapy, we’re here to help. Give us a call at 770-250-0093.