Any child making the change from elementary to middle school is bound to be filled with trepidation the summer prior to heading into the next grade. He or she may have heard how difficult middle school teachers are or how difficult classes or homework may be. The fear of the unknown is often a major stumbling block for many children, and special needs children are no exception. In fact, for many special needs children, especially those who deal with social issues or anxiety issues, this change may cause weeks of mounting fears. Here are some good ways for parents to deal with these anxieties and to lessen many of the problems prior to school starting this upcoming August or September.
Take Children to Orientation
Most middle schools offer an orientation prior to the start of a school year. During orientation, children will be able to meet their teachers, see their classrooms and get to know the school grounds. This can help offset first day jitters as students will already confident in knowing where to go.
Start the Day Right
While it may seem obvious, the way that a day starts can set the tone for the rest of the day and the rest of the week. The beginning of middle school may seem like the end of the world for a special education student, but it can instead be a time for great mental growth. Parents should be sure their children get to bed early the night before because a well-rested child usually feels emotionally secure and ready to meet new challenges. A filling breakfast will give the child the energy he or she needs to make it through the morning.
Provide Plenty of Encouragement
No matter how the first day and the first week of middle school go, parents can help set a positive tone. Encouragement given along the way can help special needs children feel as if they can continue and can help them feel secure in their new environments.
Ensure That a Good IEP Is in Place
The Individualized Educational Plan should continue into middle school. Parents who feel that the IEP does not encompass everything it needs to can meet with an attorney from Newman Aaronson Vanaman who will be able to recommend necessary changes and even meet with school district officials to draft a new plan.