5 Back-to-School Tips for Parents of Kids With Disabilities

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5 Back-to-School Tips for Parents of Kids With Disabilities

The disAbility Law Center of Virginia would like to wish all students and their families a very happy back to school!  To help make the transition easier for you, and your child, we hope the following tips will be helpful for all students and families as they start a new school year.

“However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.”

—  Stephen Hawking

1. Make Sure Everyone is on the Same Page. 

Review your child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and go over all of the services and supports that should be in place at the beginning of the school year. Then, make sure everyone who will interact with your child knows about the plan.  Bring copies of the IEP to review with your child’s teacher(s) to Meet the Teacher or Back to School Night.  It is often a good idea to share the IEP with other school staff, like hallway/playground monitors, cafeteria staff, and specials teachers.  Everyone who may need to implement the IEP should be in on the plan!

2. Know Before you Go.

New routines and expectations can be overwhelming, so make sure the element of surprise doesn’t add to the stress.  Prepare your child for the new school year by going through their class schedule, and practice new routines ahead of time, if possible.  Review school rules and policies together so you and your child both understand what is expected of them.

3. Communication is Key!

Establish good communication with the school and your child’s IEP team.  Make sure you know the best point of contact and the best time and way to reach them – it may be through an app, by email, or phone.

4. Don’t Let Issues Snowball.

Often, problems related to your child’s performance or behavior are easier to resolve the earlier you address them.  Talk with the school about any problems as they arise, and work together to brainstorm solutions that will help in the short and long term.

5. Recognize the Good Stuff.

Make sure you let the teacher and school staff know when they’ve helped your child.  By doing so you build the relationship between you and your child’s team at school, and make the good stuff more likely to happen again.  Knowing what works for your child is just as important for the school as knowing what doesn’t work.

Get Help From dLCV

Advocates are available, at no charge to you, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8:30 am – 4:00 pm. Call 1-800-552-3962 (toll-free) or 804-225-2042 to request assistance OR complete the Online Request for dLCV Services.  If you don’t speak English, we have access to a “language line” that helps us communicate with you in your own language.

We offer information about education rights, services available, and resources for people with disabilities in Virginia.  For more information about starting the year off right, visit our online Special Education page.