So we ring in 2021.

Make some resolutions.

Try to keep them.

And prepare to send our children back to school.

But wait! Will they go back in person? Or will they go back remotely? Or will they do some of both? Each of those options takes a certain and specific amount of planning, talking and organization.

But for those who have a child with special needs, I think the challenges to get ready are multiplied. Just as our children get used to being home they head back. Or just as they get used to being off of the computer, they need to adjust to getting back on it. And what a transition to do some of both.

I give such credit to these families for making it all work as best as they can. And I give such credit to our educators for being simply amazing!

But even though our educators are part of your child’s life each day, be that in person or a face on the computer, they cannot know how your child is really doing with everything right now.

But you can help them fully understand your child’s current needs and struggles by updating your notes for them.

Notes can help the teachers bridge the distance between what they see on the computer or in person, the work your child hands in versus the actual struggles or successes you see for yourself…when the computer is off and they are home. I used to think it was so interesting that teachers would tell me something about young Elizabeth that they saw at school, something that didn’t necessarily match with what we were seeing her at home. So I would feel confused and attempt to have a further conversation about the topic. After all, Elizabeth’s special needs would require us to teach the teacher!

I learned early on that there can NEVER be enough communication!

I also learned that as much as you think you will remember everything you want to share…you WON”T

So maybe now is a good time to write down what you wish to share from your time over break, as they start the new learning time, if they are having any anxiety that is showing itself, difficulties with any class or work….pretty much anything….basically a nice narrative of your child.

I learned to make a master outline for Elizabeth and had the following areas, which I filled in when I updated the school:

Changes at home- positive or not

Changes with eating or sleeping- positive or not

Struggles with any school goal (IEP, (Individualized Education Plan) or other

Successes in any area

Therapies they receive/how they are doing in them

Changes in anxiety level- tell what you see and notice

Struggles with any of the demands of school- Be honest!

What your child does after school, for a break, hobbies, interests, to decompress

This note taking kind of narrative will make it so much easier to communicate and update or any concern with those working with your child. And even if they are doing pretty well, keeping nice notes helps when conference time rolls around!

So maybe take a moment to take some notes, it helps clear thoughts out of your brain and you will know you did your best to avoid missing something important.

I wish everyone a peaceful week…..please wear a mask!

Michele Gianetti author of Elizabeth Believes in Herself