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Back to School Preparedness



Back to School Preparedness


Summer days are waning and it’s time to turn your attention to back-to-school tasks. For those of you who parent children with special needs, you know they benefit from additional preparation.

Begin with the Basics

Do you have a list? Are you checking it twice?

  • Backpack? Check.
  • Lunchbox? Check.
  • Pens, pencils, colored pencils? Got ‘em.
  • Spiral notebooks? Yes, one for each subject.
  • Folders? Check.

And so on:

  • Sharpie pens/magic markers.
  • Index cards.
  • Highlighters.
  • Erasers.
  • Pencil sharpener.
  • Calculator.
  • Protractor.
  • Graph paper.
  • White-out pen.
  • Laptop bag.
  • Gym bag and Phys Ed equipment.

Got ‘em all? Good job! But, wait, you’re not done yet.

Beyond Backpacks and Lunchboxes

Students with special needs often need more to transition successfully into a new school year. What else can you do? Here’s what:

  • Review your child’s 504 Plan or IEP.
  • Have you received a bus schedule with pickup time and location?
  • Does your child have a homeroom assignment?
  • Identify a To Do list. What must be done before the first day of school, possibly:
    • A school visit.
    • Meet the teachers.
    • Learn how to navigate the school.
    • Learn to use the locker.
    • Get a prescription for medicine to be kept/refreshed in the school building.
    • Update assistive devices.
  • Some of those items may need to be done by school staff. If so, send out inquiries to the appropriate administrator (504 Coordinator or Director of Special Services) because your CST case manager will likely not be working in August.
  • Is your child prepared mentally and emotionally to return to school? If they’re anxious, speak with them, or arrange for them to speak with a therapist or a school staff member in advance to get ready for the big day.
  • Do you have a written emergency plan for your child’s school year? If not, consider creating one now. Think about including these items:
    • Write an emergency plan.
    • Have your child participate if appropriate.
    • Practice the plan.
    • Include assistive devices.
    • Include medicines if your child needs them during the school day.
    • Include extra clothing.
    • Include emergency contact information.
    • Include an emergency card for your child’s backpack if s/he requires special attention.

The start of a new school year can be an exciting time for students and families. For many children, however, no matter their age, the return to the classroom can be fraught with anxiety. Parents can help by making use of available resources to assist their children to be successful.


If you need assistance with your child’s 504 Plan or IEP or simply have questions, please call the SGW Law Firm for help at 609-409-3500. One of our experienced attorneys would be happy to speak with you.