Sorry folks. The Summer holidays are nearly over.
This actually is welcome news for many of us parents struggling with the behaviour of our special children. School is a structure that many of our children thrive on. And of course it is a welcome respite for many of us – we can look forward to a little peace and quiet and getting a bit of ‘me’ back.
But let’s not kid ourselves that our little ones, trotting back into school in their fresh uniform and Summer glow, will be walking into any kind of idyll. No. We must prepare ourselves for many more tears, stresses and knock-backs. As this academic year starts afresh, we all hope that this new teacher will understand our child’s needs and that he will make amazing progress, be a secure happy child and that he is top of everyone’s birthday party guest list.
But that may not happen.
So it is time for warrior mums to roll up our sleeves, grit our teeth and go into battle. Are you with me? Here we go………….
Advice for the school
1.At the earliest opportunity make an appointment to meet with the new teacher. Don’t just turn up at the classroom door for an informal chat – arrange a mutually convenient time.
2. If the meeting is after school, make sure your children are being looked after elsewhere – no distractions!
3. Explain to the teacher exactly what his needs are. She may have read notes, spoken to the previous teacher but first hand conversation is always a winner. Tell her what you know works in the classroom. Prepare a list to give to her – just in case she doesn’t write notes. Make it clear that your child doesn’t necessarily need to be given the same work as everyone else if it is too difficult. Work should be differentiated to his level.
4. Ask exactly what the Behaviour Policy is. This way you both will have an understanding of what the ‘steps’ of punishment will be (f needed) and avoid any extreme measures at an early stage.
5. Give the teacher a clear picture of what your child’s strengths are and ask how these could be incorporated into the classroom.
6. Ask what support will be available both in the classroom and out in the playground. It is never in a child’s best interests to have an adult ‘velcroed’ to his side. If support systems are managed correctly, your child will be given opportunities to flourish, experiment, make mistakes (and learn from them), feel secure and succeed.
Prepare your child
7. School is tough for our children. Don’t send them off by saying “Be good”. There are too many things that can go wrong and this sets him up to fail and disappoint. Instead send him off with something positive like “Enjoy your lunch” or with something you know they will achieve at “Have fun in PE”.
8. After school try not to quiz your child about what has gone on. If he’s had a ‘bad’ day the last thing he’ll want to do is tell you about it. If it’s necessary, have a Home-School communication book so that you have a good idea about his day. Request that there are positive as well as negative things written in the book.
9. In the morning use visuals or pictures to help your child make sense of the day. Make sure he knows what is going to happen so there are no surprises. Don’t drag him to the shops after school if you can help it.
10. Give him responsibility, such as he must put out everything he’ll need for school the night before. Again you could use visuals or written list if you think this will help.
11. Leave plenty of time to get ready in the morning and allow for unseen difficulties. Stressed mums shouting and then being stuck in traffic doesn’t set him up for a positive day at school.
12. Homework. I have said it before and I’ll say it again. This should be maximum 20 minutes unaided work consolidating what he has done at school. If you are teaching him or if he is taking longer than 20 minutes, then stop. Go back to school or write a note and ask for differentiated homework that he can complete on his own. It shouldn’t be another battle you have at home.
13. If he goes to after-school clubs make sure they are suitable and that the people running it have experience of special needs. The school day is tough enough without the added confines of a club.
14. If he takes an interest in a topic or particular activity at school, then encourage him at home to develop it. Make time to spend with him on that interest.
15.Often our days are hugely hectic and busy. But really try to put aside a little time with no other distractions to actually listen to your child. It can be quite interesting 🙂
I hope the start of the school year goes well for you all of you. Although we may be filled with dread, remember that there is always support in the battlefield. Warrior mums united!
I’ve set up an exclusive, closed Facebook group where we can support one another and ask questions. I will post up advice and offer free resources to help you. It is closed which means whatever you post, it will NOT appear on your wall.
Join here Yellow Sun Club Facebook Group
So be strong, be brave. Into the fray we go……………………
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