As the school year gets ready to begin again, there are a couple things all parents of students with special needs should be aware of. First, have you gotten all of your child’s school supplies? Many times we order from the school store or Walmart, but your child may need more. Children with physical handicaps, as my son has, may need some adaptations in equipment such as self-opening scissors, specialized rulers and handwriting paper, and a gripper, weighted pencils or crayon rocks. Those with sensory dysfunction may do well with weighted products, colored overlays, positioners, or fidgets, and those who regularly use communication devices or PECS may do well with picture schedules or communication notebooks. However, we as parents cannot simply sit by and wait for the school to know what our children need. If it is not written in the IEP, (Individualized Education Plan), then it doesn’t exist to school personnel. Have you conferenced with the school about what changes your child has experienced over the summer and new transitions he or she will experience this year? Do NOT assume that your child’s teacher will know this or will understand how to implement what you want, or even has worked with children with disabilities before. If you are new to the school setting, then you need to tell the school about your child and his needs. Do not try to ignore the disability and hope the school won’t notice. They will. Don’t assume it will go away on its own. Sometimes it does, but not usually, and if you are in a private setting, the school does not even have to work with your child!! They may not be equipped, have trained personnel, etc. Schedule a time to meet with your child’s teacher within the first two weeks of school. Take notes, create an action plan and a daily communication log. Feel like things are heading in the wrong direction? Call a conference immediately to get things back on the right track. Phone calls are equally as important as e-mail, both to follow up and because it is very difficult to discern tones in e-mails and things can get easily misconstrued. I firmly believe that schools and parents need to develop a proactive plan of action for working with children with special needs. If everyone is on the same page, there is less room for error, and more likelihood that both you and your child will have a great year! Need more information on purchasing adaptive equipment, most under $50.00, and selected for quality and compatibility with children with special needs? Visit our on-line store, 2 Pirates Treasure Chest. Want a personal consultation or to try before you buy? Contact us to schedule your appointment today. Confused as how to get started with school conferences or communication? Need a Special Needs Advocate? Contact us via phone or e-mail and we will be happy to help!!