As prepared as we are, we’re always anxious about the new year and the kids return to school. It’s a big adjustment for the whole family, especially after an extended break from routine and adapting to new environments.
Before the end of last year, we arranged additional visits to Madi’s new school, she was introduced to some staff members, we purchased her new uniform in advanced, were regularly reading social stories with visual aides and were repetitively reinforcing with conversation about all the new people, places and processes approaching.
Each year, the kids receive detailed social stories with photos created for them to learn their new year level, teachers, classrooms and to help recognise other children’s names and faces for increased speech and social interaction skills.
We appreciated respite from all ongoing therapies and commitments over the holidays. We were honestly all exhausted and relished in the summer sun, enjoying fun family activities together.
The week before school was commencing, we revisited reading our social stories, I assembled both school uniforms with bags and lunchboxes in plain sight and began verbally preparing them for their transition back to school.
Their bags were packed with all the essentials including headphones, fidgets, a pocked sized colouring book with poppet pencil case and a pack of our new Communication and Self Regulation cards to use.
We dropped Madi’s books off to her new school the Thursday before, followed by a brief visit on the Friday too. Madi directed us to her yellow house, looked at her books in her locker and sussed out the new sensory room.
Her mainstream secondary school have assembled a new safe space, stocked with appropriate equipment for the kids that might need a break or time out to help self regulate.
Overall, her new school have been extremely supportive and accommodating to all our additional needs, which has certainly helped to put our minds more at ease.
Thankfully, we already had an established relationship with their initial education support workers and in school therapy program plans in place.
We’ve learnt over time, the more prepared we are, the more comfortable and confident everyone is!
All our preparation is conducted in the hope that everything will run as smoothly as possible.
It is only early days, but once again, it seems like all our hard work has paid off with the first few days of school seeming successful!
By all reports, both kids have been comfortable in their new surroundings, there hasn’t been any negative behaviour at home and they’ve both been more than happy to return to school the next day.
It’s still surreal when things go well. So much preparation goes into all our processes, it’s always a journey…
Yes, we plan and put in the work but we still don’t know exactly how the kids will react in situations. We’re scared from the past and still tend to expect the worst. So we don’t get disappointed and we’re overwhelmed when everything actually comes together and works out.
So far so good, we could not be prouder and lets hope the happiness continues!