Back-to-School Thoughts

Regardless of the hot, steamy days, fall has arrived with the return to school, football games and frenzied activities.  For some, this is a joyous time to be reunited with friends, challenged by more complicated studies and energized through extracurricular opportunities.

What is it like for children who have a disability? Will they find joy in their new classes? Acceptance by their peers? Understanding from their teachers? Access to activities of their choice? The answer to these questions are as varied as the children who attend our schools. Here are my top 10 guidelines to help every child prepare for a positive outcome at school:

  1. Establish a bedtime routine to ensure that your child receives enough rest.
  2. Be sure your child has had eye, ear and physical check-ups.
  3. Create a learning friendly atmosphere at home. Turn off the T. V. Read to or with your child. Provide stimulating books, magazines, movies and games that will challenge and encourage a love of learning.
  4. Set the pace by exhibiting a caring, calm and unhurried demeanor.
  5. Be supportive of your child’s school by attending Open House, parent conferences and other special events.
  6. If you have a concern, contact your child’s teacher to discuss it. Be open to positive solutions. Do not overreact.
  7. Do not assume your child’s teacher is fully aware of his/her challenges and issues.
  8. Research activities that are positive for your child and allow him/her to choose how to be involved.
  9. Listen to your child and allow him/her to vent. Empower him/her by brainstorming solutions to problems, consider differing perspectives and opinions.
  10. Give yourself a break, too. When possible, relax and regroup; find others who are supportive and fun.