Ready or not: we can do this! Tips for navigating our kids’ return to school
After a year out of classrooms and away from other kids, many Oregon students are returning to school this spring. Parents of kids with special behavioral or developmental needs know our children will be facing some dramatic adjustments after months away from the classroom.
Some tools to keep in mind:
- If your child has an IEP, contact your school district as soon as possible to talk about how your child’s plan may need to be adjusted this year. Note: school staff will be overwhelmed with safety, curriculum and other adjustments, so setting up accommodations and services may take more time than we want.
- Some of our kids have emotional or behavioral needs they didn’t have last spring. Be sure to document your concerns in as much detail as possible in letters to share with school administration and special ed department.
- We can prepare our kids. If possible, walk around the school campus together before the school opens. Adjust their schedule to match any new sleeping or eating routines.
- Share social stories to help kids visualize their school day. The stories show situations such as new rules on the school bus or “why my teacher looks different.”
- Teens, especially those already living with anxiety and depression, may struggle with new pressures. Be kind, be patient, and know the signs of mental health distress in teens and children.
- For support, call or text us here at Reach Out Oregon. We understand, because we are parents just like you, with children struggling with behavioral, developmental or mental health challenges.