Starting School, Nursery or going back after the holidays can be hard for any child but it may be more difficult for a child with additional needs. A child or young person is said to have ‘additional support needs’ if they need more or different support than what is normally provided in schools or pre-schools to children of the same age.
Hopefully, you already have an EHCP or are working towards one.
Here we’ve put together some back to school tips for children with additional support needs that you can put in place at home to help with this transition.
Routines are very important. Try to put some routines in place during the holidays that you can continue with when schools are back. Try to keep bedtimes and wake up times consistent. Once you’ve established a good routine it should help with the school mornings.
Visuals aids can really help when trying to follow routines. They can be a handy reminder of the things we need to do that we may forget or need prompting to do. You can have visual timetables for getting ready in the mornings and winding down at night. You can also have visuals of the school and the teachers to help get your child used to the transition and recognise faces. There are lots of visual aids available, you can buy them online, download an app, use a social story or create your own.
Practising some of the things your child will need to know before going to school can be really beneficial.
Here are some areas that are worth practising:
- Getting up in the morning
- Getting dressed and changing from uniform to PE kit
- Putting on shoes and trainers (velcro shoes can be very handy)
- Putting on and taking off their coat
- Using a knife and fork
- Opening packed lunch boxes and wrappers
- The school run
Try To Stay Calm
Kids will pick up on your mood and anxiety. Sending children with additional needs to school at any time can be stressful for us as parents but going back after a long break can be even harder. We need to remember to try and stay calm and relaxed. If your child picks up on your stress and anxiety they could go into school feeling even more stressed and anxious than they already were.
Education Health Care Plans
If your child has additional support needs they should have an EHCP in place detailing the support that they need. If you do have an EHCP ensure it is up to date and signed before school begins. Ask for the use of sensory aids to be written into the EHCP. Keep notes throughout the year ready for your annual review meeting. If you have any problems speak to your school Senco.
If you do not yet have an EHCP but feel your child may need one you can ask your local authority to carry out an assessment.
Every child deserves an education. If parents and schools work together and get the right help and support in place for our children they will thrive. It is important to have regular meetings with school and let them know if you have any concerns.
We hope that these back to school tips for children with additional support needs have helped ease your mind.
For more help and support you can join our Sensory Support Group on Facebook!