Hello CASE community,
In my experience as an advocate over the years, one of the biggest challenges parents face as their children go back to school is the lack of preparedness and understanding on the part of school staff.
Every year its like starting from scratch! Teachers often don't read IEP's and 504 Plans before school starts. Unfortunately, this doesn't set our kids up for success and it leaves teachers without critical strategies to support our kids from the get go.
So, what can you do? Write the teacher(s) an introductory letter about your child and send it during the week before school starts. If you do it any sooner, it will get lost in the shuffle. The letter should include a picture of your child, a brief statement about their strengths and interests, their feelings about returning to or starting school, a list of their challenges and a list of strategies you know to be effective. Try not to make the letter more than one page so that it will actually be read.
Arrange for a tour and meet the teacher(s).
The more prepared your child is for new routines and people, the better.
And most importantly, set a collaborative tone with the teacher(s). Working together to ensure your child's success is what everyone wants.
Organization ideas to implement at the start of the school year...
1. Include in the 504 Plan or the IEP as an Accommodation that the teacher(s) will write in the student's assignment notebook or in a home/school communication plan
a time estimate for completion of each assignment based on the student's needs. This provides you and your child with a guide to how long they should spend on a homework assignment. That way the expectation is clear and you will hopefully avoid the homework meltdown. Kids are often overwhelmed and exhausted after school and the dread they feel over homework doesn't help.
For elementary aged students, there should be no penalty at home or school if the student gives it their best effort. For high school students, this will help them with a time management plan.
2. Create a folder or binder for homework.
Label one folder "To Do" and one folder "Done or Turn In".
This will provide the student with a place to put their papers and a clear system to organize their homework.
t will help eliminate the "I don't have any homework" or "I already turned that in" arguments.
Engage the teacher(s) to use this system and to support the student by checking it every day. This can also be written as a formal Accommodation.
I hope you find the information in this newsletter helpful.
Cari Levin, LCSW
Founding Executive Director