Along with my two teens, I count down the days until the end of a school year, and we all welcome the Summer break. A break from the constant schedules and busyness of the school year, and time to actually take a breath, put the 'school stuff' away, rest, recover, have some fun with friends, and enjoy some time to just 'do nothing' sometimes. As my teens creep slowly closer and closer to heading off to College, I become more and more aware of how truly special our time together is...especially in these days during Summer Vacation.
However....with the arrival of August, and the barrage of Back-To-School 'sales' and advertisements....we are all forced to recognize that Summer break is coming towards an end, and it's time to start thinking of and planning for the next school year. Along with the shopping for backpacks, clothes and school supplies....is the more important plan for your child's success during the future school year. My motto as a Mom, an Educator, an Advocate and an Occupational Therapist, has always been to set each and every student/child up for optimal success always, versus having to move into 'Crisis management' mode when our child/student is struggling, and potentially damage has been done to his/her self esteem, feelings about school, the falling well behind academically, which then exponentially heightens the probability for a ripple effect of implications for the child/student. Every piece of research that I have read supports the notion that Educational Support services provided in the Early years of a child's Education is a key factor in the success of a child in accessing his/her Educational Program to his/her potential. However, supports are available at all levels of Education. So, as a fresh new school year is about to begin, I encourage Parents/Educators to consider some of the key elements that may impact your child/student's Educational access....at any age. Some of these include:
- schedule and class placement
- teacher placement
- the strengths and weaknesses that your child/student demonstrated last school year
- the areas that a child/student may be performing at a level "below standard", and what supports are realistically and immediately available to that child.
- Before the school year begins, ensure that you know who the 'point person'/counselor for your child/student.
- As the school year begins, if indicated, ensure, personally, that each of your child/student's teachers have a current copy of the 504 plan or IEP - this is an imperative piece of information for all of your child/student's teachers to have read prior to the school year start.
The beginning of the school year can be exciting, or anxiety producing, or both, for lots of our children/students. In setting them up for optimal success, then providing emotional support as 'the dust settles' during the first few weeks of school, the beginning of the new school year can be a positive and successful time for your child/student. If problems arise, remember that positive and open communication with your child/student's Educational staff is the optimal strategy in finding fast and successful solutions.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions/concerns regarding your child's access to their Educational program and/or their Educational progress. Next week I will be blogging on Organizational and Study Skills, or Executive Functioning Skills, which are vital for a child/student's success.
I wish you and your children/students every success for the new school year!