Baby Steps for Back-to-School Success
Ways for Your Exceptional Child to Keep the Focus
Now is the time to look into tutoring services, even if your child does not need one today.
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Hopefully, students in the Triad were not away from the books too much this summer and at least tried to practice their reading skills. Recently, I wrote about how important it is for exceptional students to maintain some sort of academic structure. If you are one of those families, congratulations; if you aren’t, there are still ways for your child to keep the focus.
Baby step 1
Sleep! It is one of the few ways that supports great academic skills. While getting extra rest at night might seem obvious for some, it is imperative for the exceptional community because they must overcompensate just to keep up with their classmates. Remember, physically, their bones, muscles and brains must work harder; they are exhausted at the end of the school day.
Baby step 2
Take one day at a time. Another obvious concept, but think about the range of anxiety that many special education students have. Students integrated into the regular education classroom will feel overwhelmed and so might their parents. Even students who return to the same classroom could experience challenges with new peers, classroom configurations or even a new teacher. Parents would do well to email the teacher immediately and set up an “email schedule” for either daily or weekly communications. This is the “honeymoon” stage for students, teachers and parents, so wade in slowly for a smooth transition.
Baby step 3
Be proactive. Plan the annual Individual Education Plan (IEP) meeting soon. Gather resources and supports for grade level goals. Don’t wait until there is an issue to complain. Become a confidant and friend to the teacher. It will be easier to make changes if there is already a working relationship in place. Don’t forget to bring supplies.
Parents of middle or high school students might also think about securing a tutor or learning center for academic assistance. Even if you feel your student does not need extra help now, but you are certain he or she will eventually, you should start the process and secure space as soon as possible.
Many times, tutors or learning centers have a calendar in place and fill up fast. I remember last year, my child needed a science tutor. This is not a subject I could help with at the high school level, and dare I say, not many parents can. As soon as I tried to get help, there weren’t any tutors available. Even at $40 per hour, everyone was completed booked.
Many students in need of tutors might contact the specific departments at the local high school; even community colleges have a student-list of tutoring resources. Students enrolled in Advance Placement courses make great peer tutors for the special education students.
Area Resources for Learning Centers and Tutors
C.C. Malloy lives in Greensboro and is a steadfast supporter of children with a disability.Any information here should not be considered legal advice and counsel should be sought for personal educational guidance. For additional support, please visit her website, Bizigal's Exceptional Blooms.