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It’s an exciting time of year for many children. But along with the excitement can come stress. New routines, teachers, classrooms and challenges. This can be especially true for children with special needs.

So how can you help your child succeed? We have put together the top five tips to ease the transition back to school this fall.

Tip #1  Make sure YOU are prepared.

Being organized is the first step towards a good start. Set up a calendar, organize meetings and files about your child so you know when meetings are and you are prepared for them. Conferences and communication with educators will be easier if you have everything you need in your files. This includes a review of your child’s Individual Education Plan to make sure it fits with your child’s goals for the year.

Tip#2  Make sure your CHILD is prepared.

Talk about school to your child. Highlight the positives: new events, new friends, new things to try! Let them know what to expect when they go to school and how they will be supported so they don’t feel alone.  If this is the first time they are going to school, try to schedule a visit before the first day. If they are moving to high school, many support organizations have sessions to help prepare your child for the change.

Tip#3  Routine is key.

As school nears, begin settling in to the routine of the new schedule. Early mornings and new bedtimes can be started before the first school day to gently smooth the changes in your child’s daily life. Start a countdown calendar so your child is aware when school will begin.

Tip#4  You are your child’s best advocate.

There will be challenges each school year, but you know your child best. Keep informed about what is happening at school and how your child is doing. Work together with educators and support staff to ensure your child’s needs and strengths are understood. Regularly meet with your child’s teacher and attend school events.

Tip#5  Celebrate Successes

Your child will find new challenges and experience new successes each year. Celebrate the successes together. You have both earned the right to enjoy each and every success as an important milestone.

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