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It’s Back to School – One Way or Another

Whether or not we feel ready, the start of another school year is here. The big difference this year, of course, is the COVID-19 virus. Some school districts will open on a modified basis, but many families are continuing only virtual learning from home. Whatever this school year holds for you and your special needs child, the attorneys at Sussan, Greenwald & Wesler want to share some tips to help with the adjustment to this new school model.

Staci J. Greenwald, Esq.
Being proactive can help avoid problems once the school year starts. Reach out to your child’s teacher in advance and provide them with a list of accommodations/modifications that worked well last year and the types of supports that have been helpful in the past. And speak up if you don’t have a computer or online access!

Mariann Crincoli, Esq.
Let your kids pick their own school supplies. This lets them feel more in control by deciding which supplies will be most helpful to them in their home/school learning environment. Setting up a spot at home dedicated to virtual learning can help them make the separation between online learning and recreational online activities. This may help with one of the most difficult tasks for parents: getting kids to focus on schoolwork when at home.

Andrew I. Melzer, Esq.
Talk to your kids about their feelings toward the upcoming school year. A few brief conversations at times when your child is calm and receptive can help you identify what’s going on in their heads. Are they worried, nervous, fearful even about whether or not they can keep up/do well? Addressing these feelings early can help your child feel more prepared to manage a changing school experience.

Lenore Boyarin, Esq.
One thing to keep in mind during this difficult period is: You are not alone. Sign up for local Facebook pages to get a feeling for attitudes regarding in-school or in-home learning. Ask your school district for your child’s teacher’s virtual office hours so you can contact them for help. On the health side, talk to your pediatrician about sanitizing and social distancing requirements specific to your child.

Above all, parents –and children– should try not to set unrealistic expectations and blame themselves for not meeting them. Some days will be more productive than others, and none of it is easy. Count even small accomplishments as successes, and reach out for help when you need it.

With all best wishes,
Your SGW Attorneys