I told Michael to close his eyes as we entered a big chain store a couple of weeks ago, I did it as a joke because the store was advertising its Back To School Sale. I mean we were there to shop for items for our vacation, not to pick up some spiral notepads, but 

that not so gentle reminder was there.

And now a few weeks later, it is time to face the dragon….school is around the corner.

For those with typical developing children, the concept of school starting brings the usual thoughts-

Who will the teacher be?

What clothes need to be purchased?

You need how many pencils?!

But for those with a child who has special needs, we have the above typical concerns and so much more.

So with that in mind, I thought I might offer some mid-to-late Summer thoughts on this topic, kind of a chance to get some things in order ahead of time.

1.TAKE A LOOK AT THE SUMMER SO FAR

Sometimes for me, it is hard to think of how you can convey all you did, didn’t do, succeeded or struggled with to a new educator when school starts. To calm my inner worry, I make a list.

I give myself until the calendar says “AUGUST” then, I usually begin my list of the things we have learned, the things we are working on, the things we could not quite do yet.

So put all of them down, and yes, trying a new food does make the list. As does, the new fear of loud noises. All of it is important information.

I think it helps to do it now, so that in the haze and crazy of the week before school starts, you are not trying to remember all the things that summer held.

It is so important, in my opinion, to tell the new educator as much as possible.

This way they can be on the same page as quickly as possible.

2.TAKE A LOOK AT THE IEP (The Individualized Education Program)

If your child has an individualized education program, now is a good time to take another look at it. This is assuming that you have put it aside for the Summer. I know I read it in the Spring and kind of make it disappear for a while in the Summer, I mean after all I know what is on it, as I helped write it.

So now is the time, I take it out, blow the dust off of it, and reread it.

Then I can mentally note which goals we have achieved, are working on or are still on the queue for next year.

Again, good to know where you stand overall, prior to the start of the year.

3.TAKE A LOOK AT THE THERAPIES

If you have had therapies this Summer, it is a good time to take a look at how they have gone.

*Were they successful?

*Was the therapist a good fit?

*What goals were accomplished?

*What goals were not?

It is a really good time to evaluate things. Because once you do you can see how you might adjust come next Summer.

Because we all know, our children are beautiful “works in progress”

4.TAKE A MOMENT TO WRITE

So after you have done all of the above, now is the time to start writing.

-a narrative about Summer

-including the things you did and for your child, as well as, the outcomes of each

include all the therapies done- and their effectiveness

-lastly, mention the IEP goals and how you feel the IEP looks for Fall. Maybe you think some goals need to be redone, maybe not.

5.TAKE A MOMENT TO SAVE THE INFORMATION

Once you are done, you can hit “save”.

You will be ready to add to the letter or not.

But you do not have to worry that important information will be forgotten.

And you can return to Summer.

I hope some of these ideas help, I know that I have done these things for Elizabeth and as she is older, with Elizabeth.

I wish you all a peaceful week!

Michele

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