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Back-to-school tips when you have a child with disability

June 9, 2019

Summer vacations have ended and the new academic year begins. Going back to school after such a long break can be hard for some kids so here are a few tips to ease the process.

Gearing up for the new academic year brings with it many challenges when you have a child with disability. For the child, it may be marked with some anxiety, tension, perhaps even mild depression. Everything changes, classroom, teachers, even classmates at times, and this can seem scary and intimidating.

This means parents and teachers have to work together to make the transition easier. Even for parents, this is a time fraught with some anxiety so it's good to prepare yourself.

Nithya Gopalakrishnan, Founder, Mridulasparsham Special School in Kochi says it is important for parents to stay in touch with the teachers.

Parents must establish good communication with teachers as this is key and focus on your child's strengths. Also, if they are admitting the child to a new school, do a thorough research about how inclusive or disabled-friendly the school is. - Nithya Gopalakrishnan, Founder, Mridulasparsham Special School

So, here are some things to keep in mind to make going back to school easier:

  • Keep a check on anxiety levels - A change in routine can cause anxiety. As a parent, you must keep a constant check on the child. If they are stressed out, make sure that the child engages in activities to calm down. It the child is attending a new school, ensure that you are in regular touch with the teachers.
  • Communication is key- Talk to your child about the problems he or she may be facing in school. Raise your concerns with school authorities so that things are easier for you and your child.
  • Attend school events - Ensure you don't miss out an any open house events in school. This way your child will feel secure and happy as well. Speak to teachers so that they also know your child's positives and negatives.
  • Do not jump into conclusions - For a child with a developmental disorder like autism or Down syndrome, development is always slow. They will take a longer time to read, write or do their homework. Give them a lot of time to do their work. As a parent, it is important to not become too anxious so that your child also does not become anxious by looking at you.

Smitha Babu's 14-year-old daughter Varnna has autism. Varnna is gearing up to go back to school next week.

"For us, biggest problem is finding right transport for Varnna to get her to school. We have to ensure that it is safe and secure. Varnna loves going to school if they have some extra-curricular activities. She hates when it comes to academics. The first few days are going to be challenging for me because I have to convince her to go to school after long summer vacations, says Smitha.

As Smitha said, the first few days can be hard but be patient and school life will become part of the routine for you and your child.

ALSO READ: Some tips for new parents who have child with autism

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