Back to school special: 5 things parents of SEND children need to know

2 September 2019

Whether your child is starting a new school or facing the classroom again after a long break, going back to school can be stressful. Disruption of routine, extra pressure and new environments can lead to general all-round confusion for everyone involved. If any of these issues affect you and your family, Norwood is here to help.

The best way to ensure a calm transition for the new start is to help your child feel that things will be predictable and manageable. Here are 5 top tips to replace the stress with success…

 1/ First steps

Before the school year starts, walk with your child from the front door to the classroom, and then to the hall, playground and any other places they’re likely to visit each day. Usually, teachers come back to school a few days before term starts, so this is an ideal time to go on a ‘school walk’ to ease your child into the new routine and take things from completely overwhelming to good old whelming.

2/ Picture perfect

Get photos of the new classroom, new teacher and where your child will be sitting. We all have a tendency to imagine the worst and so a visual guide will show that school is not actually a swarm of bees and fire – just a classroom (with perhaps the odd bee visitor, tops).

3/ Time to timetable

Share the daily school timetable with your child. Having some form of structure is important for everyone and, in particular, routine is something that can really benefit someone with SEND. You can even adapt the timetable to a format that suits your child and is easy to understand by using pictures, photos of objects or, for a retro feel, Velcro or fuzzy felts.

4/ Follow the excited leader

Tell your child two or three specific things that they can look forward to in the school year (ask the teacher for some examples if you’re struggling). What might they be looking forward to? Get them excited! Your child will follow your lead and if you show that school is full of fun and nothing to fear, that will be their belief, too.

5/ Confidence 101

If you suspect your child is anxious about the new start, ask them to tell you one thing that is making them worried. Write it down and discuss with them how we might solve this problem. This is a powerful exercise to carry out with even very young children, as it helps them articulate and begin to solve their own problems, a vital skill as they grow up.

Want to know more?

Do you still have questions, concerns or worries? That’s OK – we all do.

Use this blog as a guide but know that Norwood has a team of educational specialists ready to help. Call Ben, our education psychologist on 020 8457 4745 or email Ben.Levy@norwood.org.uk to speak about these issues and how to solve them.

Remember, school is about learning and we’re all learning together.