Back to School Tips for Families of Students with Disabilities

Two sisters with glasses, backpacks, and tablets stand against a white background, with other students unfocused behind them.The start of a new school year can bring both excitement and anxiety for students and parents, especially for families of students receiving special education supports. Students with disabilities who struggle with change may need extra help making the transition to a new school or teacher.
To help families start the new school year off right, The Arc@School offers the following tips:
  • Prepare your children before school starts by discussing any anxiety your child may have, setting clear expectations, and slowly transitioning back to your child’s school routine and schedule.
  • Review your child’s IEP prior to the start of the school year to ensure that the goals, support services, and placement are still appropriate. Make sure to consider any progress or regression your child may have experienced over the summer or since the last IEP.
  • Meet with your child’s teachers and related services providers before school starts to review the IEP together and ensure everyone is on the same page regarding implementation of the IEP. This is also a great opportunity to establish a communication plan with the teachers and related service providers!
  • Once school begins, allow your child some time to get used to the new classes, teachers, and schedule, and your child’s teachers some time to get used to your child’s unique strengths and needs, but do not wait too long to address any issues that might arise!  Having open and respectful communication and dealing with challenges early can help avoid much bigger problems later.

If you have any concerns about your child’s services or supports, you can visit The Arc@School to learn more about your rights and where you can find help.

A young elementary-aged boy sits smiling in a chair, and an older girl poses behind it. There is a school bus in the background.