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  • Writer's pictureMeg O'Connell

Preparing for a Successful Back to School Season for Kids with Disabilities

An image of 5 children holding a book. The girls are flipping through the book, the boys have the book open on their heads.
Are You Ready for a New School Year?

The start of a new school year can be both exciting and stressful for any student. But for students with disabilities, the transition can be especially challenging. Whether you are returning to in-person classes, continuing with online learning, home schooled, or opting for a hybrid model, there are some steps you can take to make the most of your educational experience.

Here are some tips on how to prepare for a successful back to school season for students with disabilities.

Know your rights and responsibilities.

As a student with disabilities (or a parent), you have the right to receive a reasonable accommodation and services that enable you to access and fully participate in your education. To do so, here are a few tips:

  • Understand your disability and how it affects your learning and functioning. You can consult with your doctor, therapist, or special education professionals who understand your disability and the needs you may have in the classroom or completing schoolwork.

  • Know your school's policies and procedures for providing an accommodation and services. You can contact your school's disability services office or coordinator and ask about the eligibility criteria, documentation requirements, application process, timing for obtaining the accommodation, and any other available resources.

  • Communicate your needs and preferences to your teachers, counselors, and other staff members who are involved in your education. You can use an accommodation letter, an individualized education plan (IEP), or a 504 plan to inform them of your approved accommodation needs and services. You can also discuss any concerns or issues that arise during the school year and seek their support and feedback.

Plan ahead and organize your schedule.

As a student with a disability, you may face some additional challenges in managing your time, energy, and workload. To cope with these challenges:, here are a few tips:

  • Set realistic and specific goals for your academic performance, personal development, and extracurricular activities. You can use the SMART criteria (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time specific) to define your goals and track your progress.

  • Create a daily and weekly routine that balances your schoolwork, self-care, social life, and hobbies. You can use a planner, calendar, or app to schedule your classes, assignments, tests, appointments, and other commitments. You can also set reminders and alarms to help you stay on track.

  • Prioritize and break down your tasks into smaller and manageable steps. You can use a to-do list, a checklist, or a flowchart to organize your tasks by importance, urgency, difficulty, and duration. You can also use the Pomodoro technique or other strategies to boost your focus and productivity.

Seek help and support when needed.

As a student with disabilities, you are not alone in your educational journey. There are many people and resources that can help you overcome any obstacles and achieve your goals. To access this help and support:

  • Reach out to your teachers and ask for clarification, feedback, or extra help when you do not understand something or struggle with something. You can also ask for extensions, modifications, or alternatives if you have difficulty meeting deadlines or completing assignments.

  • Connect with other students who share similar interests, challenges, or goals as you. You can join a study group, a club, or an organization that relates to your major, career path, or hobby. You can also find a mentor, a tutor, or a peer buddy who can offer guidance, advice, or assistance.

  • Utilize available resources that can enhance your learning and well-being. You can visit the library, the writing center, the tutoring center, or other academic support services that can help you improve your skills and grades. You can also access the counseling center, the health center, the disability services office ,or other student support services that can help you cope with stress , anxiety , depression , or other mental health issues.

I hope these tips help you and your kids prepare for a successful back to school season. Remember that you have the potential and the power to achieve anything you set your mind to. Now, go do great things! 😊 #BackToSchool


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