Our 10 keys for heading back to school

  1. Prepare in advance: Talk about returning to school before the first day. Be enthusiastic and share positive memories. You can use a social story to help your child learn what to expect.

  2. Get into the school routine before the first day. Try to mirror a typical school schedule during the few days prior to when school starts (waking up and bedtime).

  3. Schedule doctor, dentist, and any other important appointments needed before school begins. If your child is on medication, make sure you have an adequate supply for home and school if needed.

  4. Include your child when shopping for supplies and back-to-school clothes/uniforms.

  5. Inform school staff about any health and safety needs your child may have. This includes speaking with the school nurse about your child’s medical needs, and with school safety guards and administration if your child wanders.

  6. Gather documentation: Review your child’s IEP and write down any concerns or thoughts regarding your child’s supports and services for the next school year.

  7. Think about writing a short letter to your child’s teacher/therapists that briefly describes your child. Share some positive strategies that address your child’s academic and/or behavioral needs.

  8. During the last week of August, be on the lookout for a letter from the Office of Pupil Transportation (OPT) that will state your child’s bus route number, bus company, pickup time, size of bus, and medical accommodations if any. Confirm that your child’s name, address, school, and your contact information is correct. You can also find this information on OPT’s website.

  9. Identify afterschool programs and childcare options and figure out your child’s afterschool schedule. Prior to the first day of school, submit forms to both your child’s school and OPT to change your child’s drop-off location if needed.

  10. Mark important dates on the calendar, such as back-to-school, parent-teacher conferences, testing days, and holidays.