By: Lakshmi Mahadevan, Ph.D.
Its that time of year again and yet it is not the typical back to school that we have all known. As a parent or a guardian of a child with disabilities you are probably concerned about the effects of an ongoing pandemic on special education. Are you wondering – What will my child’s special education journey now look like? What’s new? What’s still available? Who do I ask?
Top 10 Tips to Help
- Go to the school’s website and note the contact information for the school’s Special Education Department.
- Get yourself a secure email and phone number that the school always has available.
- Check to see if you have access to a laptop or computer with wi-fi and audio video conferencing capabilities.
- Call the school’s special education department to confirm who is on your child’s team which typically includes a case manager (special education teacher) and diagnostician.
- Mark your calendar with the proposed Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting dates.
- Ensure that you RSVP as “attending” when invited to the IEP meetings.
- Be prepared with all your IEP and school-based questions.
- Practice COVID-19 activities (mask wearing, physical distancing, sign reading, hand washing, asking for help) at home.
- Ask when and how you will be notified by the school if decisions are made to return to work from home.
- Stay flexible, be kind and remain patient – we are all learning as we go and it is likely that the school is making their best efforts to keep your child safe, educated and healthy.
- Back-to-School: Tips for Parents of Children with Special Needs
- COVID-19 pandemic: Helping young children and parents transition back to school
- Special education and the coronavirus: Legal FAQs about IEPs
- Making special education work for your child during COVID-19
- Supporting Students in Special Education Through COVID-19