Ever have one of those days where everything goes wrong?
- Kids are fighting.
- The dog won’t stop barking.
- The car won’t start.
- Your spouse is late for work.
If you’ve ever felt like this before, then congratulations! You’re a parent who has experienced a change in the family dynamic. It can be hard to stay calm when life throws curveballs our way, but parents of a child with special needs may find it even more difficult because their child’s temperament can make them resistant to change.
This past year has produced many changes for special education students across the country.
The pandemic has caused:
Many students will be transitioning back into the classroom for the first time since March 2020. For others, they may be changing classrooms or teachers. Some students may even be transitioning to an entirely new school because they moved.
If you’re looking for tips on how to help your special needs child adjust to change, read on! Here is how to prepare them for these changes beforehand so that they don’t feel overwhelmed.
4 Ways to Help Your Special Needs Child Adjust to Change
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#1 Take a Field Trip
If your child is changing schools, that can be very overwhelming. Even as students transition from elementary school to middle school, they may have some anxiety about the next school.
As a parent, you have the advantage of requesting a meeting with the next school. In addition, doing a simple tour of the school before school starts may help relieve some of the anxiety they may be having about starting a new school.
#2 Participate in a Transition Program
There are many transition programs that high school students can take part in to help them prepare for transitioning to the workforce. Most of the programs are online or self-guided courses. Special Education students have found these programs beneficial in helping them adjust to the change of the next phase of their lives.
#3 Planning at the End of the Year for Adjusting to Change
As a parent, you have annual IEP meetings for your child’s educational future. One of the most common changes your child will have to adjust to is when he has to transition from the self-contained classroom to the general education classroom.
This is a huge transition for students, even when just for part of the day. If your child is planning on making that transition, meet with the IEP team before the next year to help prepare your child for that change in classrooms. Small classroom visits will help him get familiar with the general education classroom.
#4 Go to Community Events
Community social events usually occur every week during the summer before school starts. In addition, most churches, libraries, and schools have events that help students socialize and transition between schools.
#5 Start a Countdown
Who doesn’t love a good countdown? You are accustomed to seeing countdowns for exciting new things, trips, or experiences. As a parent, I would have a countdown to when school starts back up to help prepare for the change.
If students are aware of when the transition will occur, they may have a better understanding and attitude about the next phase of their lives. Here are some ideas for creating a back-to-school countdown.
Additional Transitioning Resources for Your Child
If you’ve ever had to adjust to change, then you know how difficult it can be. It’s especially hard for children with special needs because they already have many adjustments in their life–changes that are out of their control!
Take time to use these simple tips in helping your child adjust to change before the next school year. What have you found that helps your child transition? Share in the comments below.
Here are additional resources to help your child get off to a fantastic start this next school year!
- 5 Simple Ideas To Help When Transitioning To A New School District
- The First Step in Transition Planning for Special Education Students
- The Art Of Catching Back Up During Summer Break
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