With Fourth of July in the rearview mirror, it won’t be long before our collective focus returns to preparing for a new school year. As someone with decades of experience educating children with special needs, Alfred Minicozzi of New Jersey understands how stressful this time of year can be for parents. When a child with special needs is set to attend a new school or experienced a different educational setting, it can be overwhelming for the child and the parents. Today, Alfred J Minicozzi of New Jersey will discuss a few different tips that can help any parent properly prepare their child and ease the transition process as much as possible.
Any change to a learning environment can be a complicated transition for any child. Alfred Minicozzi of New Jersey believes one of the best things a parent can do to help their child is schedule a visit to the school before they officially need to report to school. Most schools that hold classes for special needs students will let families come in to get a better sense of the overall learning environment. Allowing the child to get familiar with the location of everything from the bathrooms and cafeteria to the playground is essential. If a child is of an older age, parents can check to see if the school can provide a map that outlines where everything is located. The more familiar a learning environment feels, the less the student is likely to suffer from nerves or anxiety during their first school year in a new location.
In addition to growing more familiar with the classroom, it’s also fantastic if a student can get familiar with who their educator will be. Alfred Minicozzi notes that most schools who welcome children with special needs will be able to accommodate a request to meet their educator prior to the start of official classes. Additionally, parents should look to see if they can arrange a meeting between their child and a fellow student. Having a friend inside of a new classroom is a great way to alleviate any tension.
Alfred Minicozzi of New Jersey notes that parents will always benefit from understanding the individual education program or IEP goals for their child. IEP meetings are typically held annually. They provide parents with the perfect opportunity to discuss both the educational assessment of their child as well as inform educators of any particular needs they should consider.
During his years of teaching, Alfred Minicozzi of New Jersey would often receive letters from parents that would introduce their child and share some common likes and dislikes of their kid. These letters would often offer helpful tips on communicating or avoiding certain situations that trigger emotional backlash from a student. Alfred Minicozzi of New Jersey points out that many parents are afraid that they are being too forward by providing this type of information, but any teacher worth their salt is going to appreciate additional information on how they can best serve one of their student’s educational and emotional needs.
Some special needs students are able to attend general education classes. In recent years, schools have started to deliver ability-awareness training that provides other students a chance to understand what makes their classmate unique and the types of things that may be more difficult for a particular child. The key to this methodology is to have the student sign off on this strategy ahead of time.
Parents of special need students will have their own fears and trepidations heading into a new school year. Alfred Minicozzi of New Jersey believes that one of the best ways for parents to feel better is to take an active role at different school events. Parents who offer to assist in the classroom or at PTA-sponsored events can remain engaged with their child and will feel better with their ability to oversee different events and activities. For those who do not have the time to offer help in the classroom or in PTA-sponsored events, they should look to make it a priority to attend all parent-teacher conferences. These meetings are designed for an educator like Alfred Minicozzi to share feedback and discuss the best educational path for every one of their students.