Every kid is unique in their own way. But that’s a layman’s definition of a special kid. However, when doctors declare a child special, it means that the kid might need extra help and attention because of a problem. The problem could be learning disabilities, medical conditions, or emotional instability. So now one would ask which kid you can add to the category of children with special needs? Any child with a physical disability; who needs assistance to walk or a congenital disease such as epilepsy has special needs. Similarly, some kids are slow learners, for example, a child with autism or some other psychiatric issue. Such children demand extra care, love, and attention. Their lives are full of challenges, making it extremely difficult to work daily.
Education, the fundamental right for all human beings, is neither free nor available to everyone. And when it comes to kids with special needs, many of them remain out of school because of the unavailability of resources and affordability of the parents. Suppose you are a teacher rather than a parent of such a child. In that case, teaching such children requires additional expertise and skills. If you want to enhance your skills by pursuing higher education, you can take advantage of e-learning and do online masters. You can also look for answers about an online master’s degree in special education over the internet to clear any possible doubts.
As mentioned above, special children have different needs, so it’s more complex to tackle them and keep them engaged in studies. An example of this is switching from extended summer vacation to a boring school routine is not easy for everyone, especially children with special needs. Hence, such kids can benefit from gradual routine shifts without distortion of their calm. Therefore, here we are with some practical tips for parents to follow that can make the transition easy:
- Help your child get used to new surroundings:
Most kids with special needs quickly embrace the change in their school setting. They adapt themselves because their parents talk about the change. Hence, it doesn’t feel new to them. However, every child is unique and learns at a different pace. So if your child has been promoted to a higher standard or is coming back after a vacation, it is advisable to start introducing them to their school. You can show them a picture of their school’s building and continue doing this for several days. You can also drive by the school and ask your kid if they can recognize the building or not. Similarly, you can also take your kid for a room tour before the regular classes begin. This way, your kid can readily embrace and get used to the surrounding.
- Review your kid’s individual education plan (IPE):
Never rely totally on the individual education plan specially set for your child. It contains only a little information about your kid. Instead, it would be best to write down the school teachers’ necessary points. You can write about your kid’s likes and dislikes, what sets them off and what can help them calm down. You can list any food allergy your kid has and mention an emergency contact number. Similarly, you can also write the maneuver you follow to reduce your kid’s anxiety at home. So summarizing all of this helps you look for areas that need extra attention. Most teachers appreciate such concern and like parents’ collaboration for their kid’s success.
- Gather information about the changes and explain them to your kid:
It’s human nature to feel more comfortable knowing what to expect and what not to. So the same goes for kids with special needs. Every year school rules and regulations change. Hence, get onto the mission of finding the changes occurring this year. You can contact the teachers and ask them what will be different this year. What will be your kid’s new schedule? Once you get to know about them, you can explain it to your kid verbally as well as visually. Verbal and visual reminders help your kid get used to it. You can create engaging stories. Suppose you can make up a story about recess time show them pictures of kids playing on the swings and slides. It helps them to relate to it more easily.
- setup back to school sleeping schedule:
Holidays are for enjoyment and relaxation. Your kid may also be staying up awake late at night and sleeping till late in the morning. So, it gets challenging for the kids to set back their early morning school routine with such a habit. Hence, the earlier you get your kid back to the routine, the easier it is for you. Because when the sleeping schedule of kids with special needs gets disturbed, it can trigger anxiety and panic attacks. You can start making adjustments a minimum of one week before school starts. You can begin by reducing 15 minutes every day until you reach your desired time. This way, your kid will easily transit to the new timing.
- Start a countdown to generate excitement:
Kids with special needs often get scared and anxious when they get surprises. So communication is necessary to avoid any pitfalls, especially school-related. You can count the days left and tell your kid about it. You can also mark the calendar or ask your kid to do so. It becomes a small, fun activity which you both can do together. While marking the calendar, you can talk about all the fun projects and events that will come up the whole year. Talk about them with full enthusiasm and excitement. Showing unnecessary excitement helps relieve the back-to-school jitter. And your kid will take going back to school as another fun activity rather than a duty.
A take-home message:
Every kid learns and grows at a different pace and time. So, first of all, never compare your kid to others, especially when your kid has special needs. Some skills have an ideal time to develop, but your kid may develop them a little late, which you don’t have to worry about. Secondly, no one will ever know your kid as better than you may know. You are the best guardian, mentor, and advocate of your kid. So follow the tips as mentioned earlier and help your child get back to school super easily and comfortably.