For a few glorious weeks each year, classrooms are replaced with trips to the Shore, and your family’s summer vacation makes waiting for the school bus seem like a distant memory. Yet, while it may feel like the year has just ended, it’s never too soon to start planning for your child’s return to school in September. Here are 6 tips to help make the transition successful.

  1. Share your child’s IEP with appropriate staff members. The most important resource you and your child’s teachers share is the Individualized Education Program, or IEP. Provide a copy of the IEP to each new staff member who will come into contact with your child each day. This includes the teacher, the aide, and the school nurse.
  2. Open up a line of communication. Reviewing the IEP is important, but no one knows your child better than you do. The best thing you can do to create a successful new school year is to open up a line of communication with teachers and staff early on.
  3. Provide a comprehensive list of your child’s triggers. Over the summer, come up with a list of the twenty items you think your child’s new teachers need to know most. This might include your child’s triggers and what keeps him on track, social anxieties, and what kind of environment helps your child to do his best work.
  4. Set up an appointment to meet with your child’s teacher(s). Within the first week or two of school, make an appointment to meet with your child’s teacher – by phone or, preferably, in person. Ask to spend 15 or 20 minutes talking with your child’s teacher – or the whole team, if possible.
  5. Share your child’s stumbling blocks. While your child’s previous teachers should provide his new teachers with background information, your personal insights can jump-start the learning curve, shortening or eliminating weeks spent getting to know your child. Insights you can share in 15 minutes could take a teacher 8 to 12 weeks to learn on his or her own. For example, your child may have difficulty following multiple step directions. Letting the teacher know in September that this is a potential stumbling block can eliminate weeks of frustration for both student and teacher, and enable the teacher to meet your child’s needs more quickly and in a more positive way.
  6. Stay in touch with the teacher throughout the school year. Once September has come and gone, it is important to stay in touch with the teacher. Make sure your child is receiving the services mandated in her IEP. Understand what your child is learning every day, and try to reinforce those lessons at home. When teachers and parents are partners in education, children benefit.

5steps

Special education is governed by federal and state law which requires public school districts to provide children with disabilities a free and appropriate public education that is individually tailored to meet a child’s unique needs and prepare her for the future as an independent member of society.

If you think your child has special education needs, here’s how you should get the process started:

Tuesday, 01 April 2014 00:00

Your IEP Team

The Individualized Education Program (IEP) is the centerpiece of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA). However, establishing an IEP that is truly beneficial to your child requires not only your involvement, but also the diligent work of a team of appropriate professionals with the skill and firsthand knowledge necessary to form a workable and beneficial education plan for your child.

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