Our back-to-school post is all about making a smooth transition into a new school year. Here are some tips and advice for keeping the first day of school jitters to a minimum!
Acclimate yourself and your Rett child:
If your Rett child will be changing classrooms, teachers or even schools this year the transition will be a bit more challenging. Familiarize yourself and your Rett child with the teacher, the staff, the therapists, the school, the classroom, everything before the first day. Take the time to drive up to the school, take a tour, find out where the office is, and make sure to meet the secretaries. Introduce yourself and your Rett child. The more familiar you are with the building, people and classroom the more at ease you will feel about the transition -- and that will rub off on your Rett kiddos!
Our girls have LOTS of staff in school helping them out - therapists, special education teacher, general ed teachers, para pros and the list goes on. It can be pretty tough to keep up with all that goes on in your Rett child's day. Make it a priority to know everyone working with your daughter and have their contact information in case a question arises. For therapists and teachers set up in the beginning of the year how and when you will receive updates on your Rett child's progress (and it's not a bad idea to write this into the IEP). Are progress notes enough every quarter or do you want to know week by week or even day by day how and what she's doing? Let the therapists know how often you would like to be updated and how you will correspond: through letter, email, or phone. Likewise with her teacher. Many teachers do a daily communication form but if there is something specific you would like to know on a daily basis let her know. If your childs teacher doesn't have a communication form, feel free to copy the one on our school resources page. It's amazing, with the amount of staff our kiddos have, how easy it is to forget and let a couple months slip by and then think "hey, I wonder how her OT goals are going?"
Does your younger Rett kiddo have a favorite blanket, stuffed animal or toy? Bring it in! Especially for the first week or 2 of school. Whatever eases her anxiety and makes her feel more secure is OK. For our older Rett kids, maybe a favorite CD that helps with calming anxiety? Bring it in with a set of headphones and ask her teacher to let her listen to it if she gets upset. Does your Rett child use a weighted blanket to calm her? Consider buying an extra one for school. What about winter? Does your Rett child get chilled often or does her circulation require you to keep a heated blanket on her throughout the day? Consider buying an additional one for school so she can feel the same comforts there if she needs it. Whatever comforts your Rett Girl at home will likely comfort her at school as well.
We wish all our Rett kids a very smooth transition and wonderful school year. RettGirl is always here to help you!