For those who were unable to attend the gathering in February, here are some takeaways from the parents who shared their experiences with children with special needs transitioning to Middle School.
The transition to middle school can be challenging for sped kids and typical kids alike. The classes are larger with more of a lecture format; the social dynamics are more complex; parents aren’t on school grounds as much as they are in elementary school.
- You know your child the best, it’s your responsibility to learn, advocate and be involved. If the elementary school team found strategies and approaches that work with your child, share that with the middle school team. Have a sense of what your child needs and ask for it.
- Plan to meet with your child’s teacher 2-3 weeks into the school year to check in and identify/tackle any stumbling blocks early.
- Your child can have in his/her schedule an “academic support” block – instead of a language, for example – and use that time for support in study hall or help with executive function.
- If your child qualifies for extended school year services in the summer, request that it take place at the middle school so that when fall comes around, your child will be familiar with the building and some fellow students.
- The Newton PAC listserv is great resource to learn about various special education programs offered at district schools and parents’ experiences with them. To join, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about the Newton Parent Advisory Council (NewtonPAC) for Special Education, visit: newtonpac.org.