What to Do the First Day, Week and Month Back to School When Your Kid Has an IEP

My friend, Erin, and I used to do a podcast for parents of kids with disabilities. We discussed issues that were applicable to our own lives. While we have not recorded a podcast for a long time, we are still having these conversations. Our latest conversation was about what we should do the first day, first week, and first month of the new school year to help our kids with disabilities succeed.

There are a few things you can do before school begins that can help kids transition, yet some things you have to work on as the school year is in session. While Erin and I do not claim to be experts, these are some ideas we came up with, and we hope they are helpful to you as well.

First Day:

Erin thinks you should schedule a spa day.

Besides the self-care, if your child needs to take medication while at school, make sure school has all the necessary documentation for them to administer meds. Touch base with the school nurse and make sure there are no medical concerns. Provide any special directions in writing if necessary. Make sure all your medication bottles are current for school or request an extra school bottle at the pharmacy.

If you do not already have a school schedule, make sure to request one so you can keep your child informed ahead of time on what to expect each day. Ask who will be working with your child, including paraprofessionals, therapists, teachers, etc.

Touch base with the teacher to see if there are any last-minute questions.

At the end of the day, make sure to connect with your child’s teacher (or teachers) to get a sense of how the day went. Take this as an opportunity to brainstorm together if there were any hiccups throughout the day.

Create a system or calendar to help with packing lunches if your child does not eat the school lunch.

If you’re able to communicate with your child, ask them how their day was. Frame this positively, but let them know it’s OK for them to talk about anything that felt off throughout the day.

First week:

At home, stick to those before-and-after school routines. Everyone is transitioning to a new schedule, and those routines are important.

Continue to touch base with teachers and school staff about questions, concerns or issue that may be coming up.

Be patient and caring; give your child time to transition. They may still be having a hard time being back in school and adjusting to things different from the previous year.

Make sure you ask about your child’s social life. Who are they eating lunch with? Who are they spending time with?

First month:

Build relationships with all members of the IEP team. Positive relationships go a long way when it is IEP time.

If possible, volunteer to help in the classroom during this first month so you get an idea of how things are going with your child early on.

Connect with your child’s teacher and other staff and ask for feedback on how things are going. A month in, kids should be in a good routine and their schedule should be running smoothly with the same people involved throughout their day.

Schedule another spa day.

What advice would you add? Let us know in the comments.

Getty image by BDNZ

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