Back to School Tips
for All Learners
We hope it's been a wonderful summer for your family and that you can enjoy these last weeks before the school year. 
Can you plan one last family adventure before school starts? Hiking, biking, kayaking/boating
 on the river, visiting monuments/museums, 
or taking a trip to the beach are activities that can be fun for everyone! If you want more tips or information on how to prepare for the school year, don't hesitate to reach out! 

-Leigh Ann, Cathy, Mary, and Lena


August 22 
6:30 PM

4031 University Drive Fairfax, 
VA 22030 

September 29
2:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Walter E. Washington Convention Center
801 Mount Vernon Place Northwest
Washington, DC 20001


October 2
7:00 pm

Brown Academy 


October 12
8:00 AM - 1:00 PM

ASCE HQ Bechtel Conference Center
1801 Alexander Bell Drive
Reston, VA 20191

Stay Connected
It's hard to believe that summer is coming to an end and the new school year is about to begin! Preparing your child for school is exciting, but can also be overwhelming, especially if you have a child with a disability. In this newsletter, we provide tips based on our own experience of how to best prepare your child and yourself for the new school year.
Tips to Prepare Your Child for School
  • Visit your child's school over the summer.
    • Play on the playground.
    • Familiarize your child with the different rooms they will be in (ie. the art room, the cafeteria, etc).
    • Take pictures of the school, the rooms, and the playground and create a book that your child can read before school starts.
    • If the teacher photo is on the school website, be sure to "introduce" your child to their teacher.
  • Schools are typically open with "summer hours." Contact the local screening chair if you have concerns about your child's development and want to schedule a screening at the beginning of the year.
    • If your child has an IEP and you've moved within the state, contact the lead special education teacher to find out how to send the IEP to the school. The school division must implement the current IEP until a new IEP is written.
  • If your child is receiving private services during the summer, find out if the school will allow private therapists to work with your child during the school day.
    • If not, find out if the private service providers can work with your child at home before or after school to avoid extra driving around after a long school day. 
    • Work with your child's teacher and therapists, so they can collaborate with each other on ways to help your child.
  • Write a letter to your child's teacher about your child, so they know how to best work with them. Here are some points to include:
    • Your child's strengths.
    • Strategies that work well for your child.
    • What triggers your child.
    • Safety concerns: does your child run away, eat non-edible items, or engage in self-harming behaviors?
    • Health information (which will already by in file at the front office, but also will be helpful for teacher to know directly).
    • If your child is old enough, have them add their thoughts to the letter.
  • If your child has anxiety about the new school year, here are some tips:
    • Encourage them to share their fears.
    • Instead of providing reassurance, help your child problem solve (for example, "let's figure out how to handle this." rather than saying "everything will be fine").
    • Pay attention to your own behavior because your child takes cues from you.
  • Help your child set goals for the first 4 weeks of school and create a board to hang up in a special place in your home.

Tips to Prepare Yourself for School 
  • Create a binder to organize and file all your child's school paperwork.
    • Tabs can include: eligibility documents, evaluations, IEP information, progress reports, teacher notes, work samples, and health information.
  • Create a calendar of important events, conferences, or trainings that you can attend to help develop a better understanding of your child's disability. Events to save the date for:
  • Buy supplies and clothing THIS weekend during Virginia Sales Tax Holiday (August 2-4).
    • Encourage your child to shop with you, so he/she can pick out the items with you. 
    • Use the shopping trip as a lesson in financial literacy either with a tablet or calculator so they know what they're spending!
  • Schedule a time to do something for yourself once your child is in school to celebrate the school year (for example, treat yourself to a massage, a yoga class, a hike, a shopping trip, or anything else that makes you feel good.)
  • Prepare a notebook to communicate with your child's teacher on a daily basis.

    • It will be helpful for your child's teacher to know if your child didn't sleep well the night before, if it was a challenging morning, if breakfast wasn't eaten, etc.
218 N. Lee Street, Suite 323
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: 703-671-8316      Fax: 703-997-8438