Education SEND

Back to School For Children with SEND

Preparing for going back to school for children with SEND is always a greater challenge than for most, for both the parents and their offspring. While there may be various backpacks and lunchboxes to select from among the countless alternatives, clothing to buy, books, pencils, and coloured pencils to gather, there are also loads of other considerations.

If your child requires accommodation, is enrolled in a special school or if you’re needing to book a disabled students’ allowance needs assessment, there may be some additional factors you need to take into account.

It’s likely that you’ve learned something about your child’s schedule and observed that at least some of the preferences and needs you raised at the most recent IEP or 504 meeting for your child have not been taken into account. The needs of your kid might have changed over the summer, and you might need to talk to the staff more before the new school year begins.

If your child is returning to a new school, classroom, or instructor, they may be experiencing particularly high levels of anxiety about starting classes or hands-on learning. If you haven’t met your child’s new teacher but are aware that they will need information on your child, you might be in the same boat. You, the teacher, and your child will all have a much simpler time if you let them know that information. If this sounds like your situation, read on to learn more about making this process much less stressful for you and your child.

Make sure the accommodations you agreed to are in place

Last academic year, you will have had a meeting with several school staff, perhaps the guidance counsellor, case manager, teacher, and therapists of your child. You will have had the opportunity to read and contribute to the annual review of their EHCP and the full IEP for your child. You examined and agreed to the plan after talking about options and possibilities (or 504). You can now presume that everything outlined in these documents will be implemented and ready for your child when they report for their first day of class. 

But of course, assumptions are subject to error. Consult with your child’s team, case manager, or guidance counsellor before returning to school. Make sure all necessary accommodations are in place and that any agreed-upon supports are available. If there are concerns, it is best to be aware of them in advance because there is a significant chance that minor issues can be solved before your child enters a classroom.

Build relationships with your child’s teachers and counsellors

You are your child’s best supporter and advocate, but if their teachers and counsellors don’t know you, they won’t come to you for advice or assistance. Plan to visit the school before the doors open so you may introduce yourself to your child’s teachers and staff. Give the school personnel a little background on your child’s unique abilities and difficulties, but take care not to overburden them while they are gearing up for the new school year.

Most importantly, let everyone know that you are eager to be involved in your child’s educational experience, open for discussion, and willing to examine possibilities. In order to be easily contacted, provide your phone number or email address. Then, inquire as to how best to get in touch with them.

Prepare your child during the summer months

Back to school for children with SEND, when they have spent several weeks without the usual school structure and routine, can be incredibly challenging. While there is no real substitute for your child actually being in the classroom and having time to settle back into their routine, there are still plenty of things you can do at home to ensure a transition that is as smooth as possible. Counting down the days on a calendar, looking at photos of your child’s teachers, classroom and school, and spending time with other kids from their class are all things that will help school remain on your child’s brain. Ignoring school during the summer months can make it even more challenging to return. Practising the journey to and from school can be useful, too. Although many children who attend special schools will travel via taxi or minibus, so it will not be an authentic experience for them.

Some schools even provide transition programmes to help going back to school for children with SEND, so it is worth asking them before school breaks up. Even a booklet containing information about their staff members, classroom and school could be very handy.

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