Back to School: Special Needs Edition


It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right? Back to school! New clothes, new pencils, new class lists, new medication authorization forms, new IEPs, new explanations of medical conditions or accommodations. Is there a new bottle of wine around here anywhere? I’m finding my first “back to school” season to be pretty stressful.

In a few weeks, Max starts Kindergarten and there are just so many things to think about. Should I let Max take the bus or will it be too stimulating? And what if he has a seizure? Should I meet with his teacher ahead of time, or just let her meet him and work with him and form her own opinion? Should I trust that the school nurse will train the teacher on seizure first aid, or should I have the Epilepsy Foundation come in and do a training? Should I push more to meet with the IEP team sooner than the 30 day allotment they have to transfer his IEP from MA to our new school system?  Should I try to find him supplemental therapies outside of school or wait and see how he does? Is he going to collapse from exhaustion when he gets home or is he going to drive his teacher crazy because he can’t sit still? Will other kids like him even though he can’t write his name or play ball with them?

I’m not worried per se, but just wondering about all these things. I feel like we’ve made good choices about where we live and how we want Max’s schooling to go. I have spoken to the school nurse and emailed his teacher asking if she wants more info or to chat before school starts. I’m taking a more laid back approach until I see for certain what the school system is like and what his teacher is like. If all goes well, I’ll be ecstatic. If not, out comes Mama Bear. Let me know, am I taking the right approach or should I be more proactive?

Like every parent, I just want his educational experience to be a good one. I want his needs to be met and his curiosity to be fostered. I want him to feel like he fits in, but that he’s comfortable doing so and being true to who he is. I just want him to be happy.

5 comments on “Back to School: Special Needs Edition”

  1. Thank you all for your support. I really feel like I’m doing the right thing. I’ve already been in touch with his teacher via email and she’s offerred to have Max come in next week for a visit before school starts. I have good feelings about this teacher already. Alexis and Audrey, my experience at Max’s previous school (public school PS) was so poor that I automatically assume teachers don’t care about the kids. I’m trying my best to change that attitude and approach this school year with a clean slate mentality, so thank you for sharing your insight.

  2. Best of luck. As a special education teacher who receives your kiddo (and those like him) in just a few days, believe me when I say our levels of anxiety are just as high as yours. We want to do well by each and every child and juggling too much information (assuming about what the kid can and can’t do) versus not enough (do I even need to explain?) is a very delicate balance.

    Best of luck this year! He will do wonderfully.

  3. I’m a special educator for a high school, and from an educator’s point of view this is exactly the right approach! Stay low key (unless you’ve heard bad stories), let the teacher know what’s up and to contact you if they have any info. Chances are, if they’re a good teacher they will in fact contact you. Especially in kindergarten, I would hope! From a parent’s point of view, props to you for being so laid back… With my teacher type-A personality, I would not be 🙂 Here’s hoping to a fantastic school year… and a good bottle or two (or five) of wine with no worries behind it!

  4. I was in the same exact boat last year and took the same approach – gave teacher and school my contact info and expressed a willingness to discuss anytime, then just sat back. It ended up being a great idea. My son was able to start fresh and had a very successful year.

  5. We’re not at this point yet but your approach sounds exactly how I would do it… good luck and here’s hoping mama bear can stay at bay 🙂

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