Few moments in time seem more important than your child’s first day of Kindergarten. Kids often experience a range of emotions, from excitement to fear and all the in between. For families of kids with special needs, parents may find themselves sharing a bit of these emotions as well.

Below are six tips to help ease your mind and ensure that your child has a successful Kindergarten experience!

  1. Provide your teacher with an About my Child sheet. Sometimes, teachers do not receive a child’s IEP before school begins. Prepare a short document with five things about your child—a few strengths and a few struggles to help his or her teacher understand more about your child.
  2. Go to your child’s Open House. This will help your teacher put a face with a name and make connections for your child. You should be able to see the teacher’s classroom, hear rules and classroom expectations, as well as ask any questions you may have.
  3. Meet with your teacher to discuss your child’s needs. Once your teacher has reviewed the About My Child sheet (and possibly, your child’s IEP), schedule a time to meet with the teacher. Here, he or she can ask questions, review your information, and make sure everyone is on the same page regarding your child’s needs.
  4. Deal with potential problems quickly. If you have an issue with your child’s school experience, it is best to handle it professionally and quickly. Write your teacher an email, or, if you prefer to speak in person, send a follow-up email. In the email, simply explain your concern and ask the teacher for help. As hard as it is, try to leave out emotions (it may help to write the email several times or have someone look over it for you). If at any point a teacher tries to paint you as an overly emotional helicopter parent, a hastily drafted email pointing fingers will be Exhibit A.
  5. Follow up on how the IEP is being implemented in your child’s classes (including specials). Make sure that you are regularly communicating with your child’s team regarding his or her needs. Send occasional emails to your child’s teacher asking how things are going in his or her class, P.E., art, etc. Sometimes, specials teachers forget that they also must follow your child’s IEP. Regular communication will ensure they do so.
  6. Make a Special Education Binder. You will need to document all your communication with teachers, evaluators, and other school staff members, as well as copies of your child’s evaluations, IEPs, and other records. A binder is simply an organizational tool to help keep all your important documents together. Plus, you can bring it with you to ARD meetings to ensure that you understand how your child is progressing and how well the school is meeting his or her needs. For a list of tabs/sections we recommend for your binder, please contact us.

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. You should contact an attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.