School is one of the most important pieces of your child’s life, and not just because of the education. Making friends, socializing, taking part in extracurricular activities, and learning how to navigate life with some autonomy are all vital aspects to going to school. However, when your child has Cerebral Palsy, they will likely have a very different experience. It takes a little bit of work, but there are a number of ways you can help your child have the best possible experience during the school year.
Talk To Their Teacher
It’s surprising how many parents don’t sit down with their child’s teacher to discuss their needs. Most teachers have very little training and experience with special needs children in their classroom. Talk to them about what supports your child needs in order to succeed.
Let them know about your child’s physical limitations, and when and how they may need help. It could entail having a study buddy to carry books or supplies during classroom transitions; help with making friends; possible homework accommodations for days when therapy or doctors appointments take precedence; the need for nutritional re-fueling in order to maintain focus and optimal energy, or even a chance for your child to speak to the class about their disability. Sitting down with their teacher for even 15-30 minutes can make all of the difference in the world.
Take Advantage Of Technology
The continuing advances in communication and learning technology has changed education, and has opened doors for special needs children. If your child needs a tablet or other device to help communicate or to document assignments, make sure their teacher knows. Tablets can also help your child keep up with note taking or reading, giving them a greater sense of independence and normalcy. The same goes for tools or supplies that fit their needs. Make sure they have all the necessary tools to optimize success, and that their teacher understands how these tools work and why they are important.
Keep Up Communication
While keeping up with your child’s teachers and school administrators is imperative, keeping the channels of communication open at home is even more important. Having a schedule can help immensely, and offer much needed structure. During those blocks of time set aside for homework, make sure you ask your child about their day. Find out if they had any difficulties that day. Was their teacher accommodating, or did they feel left behind? Bullying can also be a serious concern, so always look for signs, and help your child feel safe in telling you about it.
You will always be your child’s greatest advocate, so make sure you’re helping them to make school a positive and uplifting experience. Never be afraid to contact the school to get a full understanding of how your child is doing, and how you can help make the experience even more rewarding.
We hope everyone has an amazing start to the school year!