As summer comes to a close, and the new school year begins, a mixture of emotions arises for both parents and children. There are feelings of excitement for new experiences, but also feelings of anxiety and fear of the unknown. For CP families, going back to school requires much more preparation emotionally, socially, and physically.
For a child with Cerebral Palsy, inclusivity is everything. Being seen, felt, and understood plays a crucial role in their development. As they progress into new experiences, it is important to provide your child with the support needed for a successful school year.
Even though you can’t keep an eye on your child inside the classroom, there are many ways to make this change in routine as seamless as possible.
Here are a few back-to-school tips to ease the transition:
Create A Healthy Routine
Going back to school is a perfect time to reinstate healthy habits that will create a routine for your child inside and outside of the classroom. Summer vacation is an easy time for bedtime schedules to slip and with early mornings coming soon, it’s vital for children and teens to get quality rest to gain focus and motivation. Encourage clean eating and create bonding moments by having your child pack their lunches with you if that is at all doable.
Get To Know Their Teacher
As a parent, it is important to be involved in your child’s school experience by communicating with their teacher. Let them know exactly what your child needs in order to be successful. When you cultivate a relationship with the people who will be around them the majority of the day, it becomes much easier to coordinate the best education plan for your child.
Research Adaptive Technology
CP students may experience specific learning obstacles that require additional assistance. For those with restricted speech, an alternative communication system may enhance their learning experience. Also, voice to text helps those kids whose fine motor issues makes it difficult to type and/or keep up with their peers. Some students may also find it difficult to travel across campus in a timely manner. Therefore, a manual or power wheelchair can be a great option. Do remember, though, that these adaptive tools can be quite costly and, even with the best of insurance plans, can take up to six months to secure — and then added time is needed to train your child in their use. As well, a power wheelchair requires an adaptive van for transport. You’ll find more on this important topic in a subsequent blog.
Encourage Extracurricular Activities
Children are constantly learning, growing, and connecting with others. Having activities outside of school that they can enjoy will help boost their overall wellbeing by strengthening their confidence and independence. For CP children, this is a great way to make friends in a relaxed and enjoyable setting.
Be Their Biggest Supporter
At the end of every school day, your child will always have you to come home to. Whether it be for comfort or encouragement, they rely on the support of their loved ones. As they get older and their lifestyles change, one thing will always remain constant: their loving family.
With the right plan and a positive mindset, the transition into a new school year can be less daunting and memorable.
CCPM was created to provide support for children and families living with Cerebral Palsy. Connect with our community, ask questions, and offer your thoughts. Your voice is heard and welcomed.