I often see questions posed by parents on Facebook autism pages asking how others have handled sending their autistic preschooler or kindergartner off for the new year.
The fear is real. Your little one has special needs and may be non-verbal. Parents new to this big step can easily worry about if their child’s needs will be met, worse what if things go wrong and their child can’t articulate they are being picked on, neglected, or the unthinkable- abused.
My answer to these worries is to get to know everyone that has a part in your kid’s school day.
- Get to know everyone
- Make friends
- Be available
- Follow up
Getting to know everyone
Meet the bus driver, aid, teacher, principal, front off secretary, speech, OT, school nurse, etc. You are building your child’s team. It’s important to know everyone that has eyes and ears on your child.
I know you may have a momma bear instinct that demands you march into your kid’s school and demand everyone is good to your kid or else you will be handing out black eyes left and right… Resist! You want these people to like you, you want them to speak up if something happened to your kid. If they want to avoid you, they won’t search you out. Compliment your kid’s team, make small talk, ask how their weekend was.
If you want to know how your child’s day was, be available. Smile and keep your phone in your pocket. People are less likely to do something they shouldn’t if they know others are watching.
Following up goes along closely with being available. Let your kid’s staff know you are invested and involved with your child’s well being. Let them know you are watching them… but don’t come off like a paranoid stalker 😜 Be friendly, be confident, be easy to talk to. Make sure to ask how your child’s day was, ask if he or she was happy, if they did anything fun?
If your child has been struggling with something, follow up on the progress, offer to help brainstorm solutions, and be a part of the team.
Do you have any tips to start a new school year off right? Any tips on building a great team for your kid? How do you fight off the worry? Let me know in the comments below!
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