Friday, August 24, 2012

TIP of the WEEK: Back to School

A new year brings new opportunities to succeed but also brings new challenges. Changes in routines, expectations and environments can be so difficult for our kids but here are some ways to make the transition a little smoother.

Start their new routine ahead of time. If your child is used to waking up at 8am but getting to school on time will require her to get up at 6am, start waking her up at 6am a week or two in advance.
Back to school brings back to school clothes which can be challenging for kids with PWS. Favorite summer clothes will have to go away and be replaced with new, clean and unfamiliar attire. Let them wear their new clothes before that first week of school. The sensation of tags and stiff material can be unbearable for them. Cut the tags and wash the clothes several times before introducing them.

Ask for permission to enter the school and classroom before the first day. Do dry runs to and from school, especially if the school and/or classroom will be different than last year. Let your child sit at her desk, explore the environment and find the bathroom, lunch room and nurses office before the predictably hectic first day.

Write down your child's likes and dislikes for the teacher and aide. They have many children to care for and having this information written down will help them to remember what works best for your child. If you can't arrange for your child to meet their new teacher ahead of time at least have pictures for them to look at. Pictures or even better, a play date with their new classmates will take some of the pressure off of the first day.  The less surprises the better!

Let your child know your expectations ahead of time. The best intentions do not always mean that everyone will get it right all of the time. Let your child know that you have told the school staff about their needs but if the teacher or aide forgets that does not mean that it is ok to react badly. This may not work the first time or every time but making your expectations clear will help them manage the inevitable mistake.

Always remember that we are here to help if you need advice or are running into problems with your child's school. Children with PWS need extremely dedicated, knowledgeable and experienced teachers and aides. We can help if you need it. We get it.

Submitted by:
Patrice Carroll
Manager of PWS Services

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