Starting the New Year with Special Support
As winter break winds down with Chanukah and all the holiday fun behind us, we welcome 2020 with new wide eyes, new resolutions, and a renewed hope for a wonderful fresh year. With this also comes the return of our little ones to school for another trimester and a return to our day to day routines.
For those of us with special needs kids, the return to school after a long break can definitely be a challenge. Below are some helpful hints to help you navigate through the transition back to school, as well as some great resources to look into to better support your kiddo(s) throughout the year.
- Always remember to prepare your special needs kiddo prior to the first day back to school by letting him/her know exactly what the schedule will look like that day. This can be in a verbal conversation or a written schedule that you can go over with your child the night before.
- Involve your kiddo as much as possible in decision making for the first day of school. For example, have your child pick out his/her clothing for that day or help pack his/her lunch for the day.
* Very Important – Build in extra time in the morning to manage meltdowns when/if they occur. Oy Vey, this can be stressful!
- Autism Community Store (14095 E. Exposition Ave., Aurora, 80012) – This is a great place to visit not only for sensory gifts for Chanukah, Birthdays, etc., but also for general, as well as school specific sensory friendly items for kids, such as pencil grips, fidgets, chew stixx and wiggle cushions for sitting.
- Beyond the Blackboard (Southlands Mall) – Also has great sensory friendly items for kids and definitely worth exploring.
- Developmental Pathways – If you have not already become a member of or received qualification for a waiver via Developmental Pathways, please go to dpcolo.org and see if you qualify. If you qualify, your child can receive free classes, therapies (Music/Movement therapy, OT, Speech Therapy etc) and resources that he/she may need. DP is also a great resource for connecting you to the special needs community and to information pertaining to respite, transportation resources and community outreach programs.
- Autism Speaks – This is also a great website (autismspeaks.org) to explore for resources and information. You can also participate in an annual Autism Speaks Walk/Fundraiser if you are interested and raise money for the cause. I have participated in 2 walks to date and plan on doing it annually going forward! Who wants to join me?
Hopefully some of this information will help support you in having a much smoother and less stressful transition into 2020 and carry you throughout the year. I wish you all health and happiness this year and thank you for continuing to support my efforts in contributing One Piece of the Puzzle to making a better and more inclusive world for our kids!