I know that those darn school supplies have been there since, I am thinking, Easter?

Ok, that is an exaggeration, but seriously they are there very early in the summer.

But now, some of us have children who are headed off to school as soon next week!

Even though we all could have picked up some great deals on spiral notebooks, along with some  jelly beans, now really is the time to do things to help your special needs child start the year off as smoothly as possible.

Talk the Talk

Something I always did (not to the cheers of my children) was start talking about how the school days, before and after, would go.  Meaning I would tell Elizabeth what I thought her days would  be like, what we would try to do before school. Where she would sit on the bus.  Really any detail that can be shared helps take anxiety down and allows for her to know what to expect. Her  Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) showed itself greatly at transition times like the start of school.

We talked about  making her  after school schedule and because of her Dyspraxia, a list of the things she needed to do herself to get ready for school.  Dyspraxia can make organization difficult so a visual schedule (written or with pictures) helped her remember to comb hair, brush teeth etc.

I would tell her how, when and where we would be doing homework.  My children were not and are not the ones to dive right into homework upon getting home.  Rather they are the ones who eat dinner, “relax” a bit ,THEN start their work.  So, with Elizabeth’s disorders, making a schedule allows for her to know when she will be doing her and makes it easier for her to pull herself from her “relaxing” to grab a pencil and transition to work time.


How many times have I written that phrase?  Probably a million.

But it is critical and crucial.  So all those notes you made about your child’s summer:

The successes

The things you are working on.

The things you want them to know

The things your child did this summer.

The daily communication sheets or notebooks.

Now is the time, in my opinion, to make sure the letters and sheets are ready to go.  Reflect who your child is and what you want them to know and do.  And that they make it into the hands, or in the case of the whole tech world, into the emails of any and all people who will be working with your child.  I always put into any email a request for a return email to let me know they  got my information.

I  feel that is a nice way to know they acknowledge the email.


When you meet the teacher and share these letters,  I always thought it was  a good time to introduce the idea that I  would be emailing or talking to them soon about times to meet.  Then I would do that.  Usually a few weeks into the year, I would email them or send a note and ask for a few minutes to meet.  This was the way I could ask questions about how the days were going, share thoughts and really learn about any situations that needed attention or intervention before they get too big.

I did meetings about  once a month.  Sometimes by phone if we could not meet.  But just knowing that the most time that would elapse was small made me feel calm and that I  had a better idea of how  the year was really going.

So with the start of the year so close.  I hope some of my thoughts helped someone as they pack those backpacks.

I wish everyone good luck on the new year!

I wish everyone a peaceful week.

Michele Gianetti  author of “ I Believe In You: A Mother and Daughter’s Special Journey” and “Emily’s Sister”