Special Education Advocate New Jersey
Helping Your Child Reach His or Her Potential

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Stuff to think about, Stuff to know.

TIME FOR SCHOOL - where did the summer go...

SCHOOL!

Yes, for those who haven’t already started, school is right around the corner.  In any situation having your child(ren) go back is a bittersweet mix of excitement and anxiety.  For parents of special education children, the anxiety is one-hundred-fold.

Some things to think about and consider:

  • It is a good idea to email your contact at the Child Study Team.  Ask that person to confirm that every teacher has seen your child’s IEP.  This must be done by every and any teacher your child has, including specials, librarians, and if necessary, lunch assistants and bus drivers.  
  • The law is clear that every teacher must read and assert that he or she has read the IEP.  It is also best practice for each teacher to have a copy of the accommodations.  That may be law – I’ll check that.
  • If there is time before school, call to ask if you can walk your child to his or her new classroom.  This is not to talk to the teacher, just to help with your and your child’s anxiety about where the new classroom is located.
  • If possible, find out what locker your child has. Dyslexic children have a terribly difficult time with combination locks.  Ask if you can get into school early to practice how to open the locker. If need be, get a key lock and avoid the dreaded combo lock.
  • Never try to talk in too much detail to the teacher if/when you see him or her in the hall. This is especially true on back-to-school night.  Back to school night is more stressful on the teacher than on the parent. It just isn’t a fair time to talk specifics with the teacher.
  • After back-to –school night, schedule an informal (meaning not an IEP meeting) to meet your child’s teachers.  This will put your kind face to the many e-mails you may be exchanging throughout the school year.
  • Please remember, in most cases, the teacher truly wants your child to be successful.  Please do everything you can to keep the teacher as an ally.  But don’t forget to document any interactions – just in case.
  • Remember that the IEP is a living document. You have the right to call for an IEP meeting to review and make suggestions to the IEP.