For parents of children with special needs that must be met in a school environment, March is THE month to go through your child’s (each child’s, if necessary) needs and get the ground work done in order to make sure the ball is rolling in the right direction for the next school year.
- Get your child’s paperwork in order, if that hasn’t already been done. Understand that for evaluations, team meetings, etc., these papers will be rifled through, with the chance bits and pieces getting lost along the way. It’s always a good idea to keep everything together in one traveling folder, binder or accordion file, with another copy sitting at a safe place at home.
- Make a checklist of what needs to get done and reconfirmed. Which specialists need to be seen? From whom do you need to receive an end-of-year report for this year? With whom must you register or speak with to make sure services are coordinated at the school? If applicable, does transportation need to be arranged? Whatever your child’s needs may be, write them down in checklist form, in a place they won’t get lost.
- Make your appointments. Waiting lists are a part of life throughout the Western world, so line ‘em up: psychologist, neurologist, developmental specialist, eye doctor… fill up your datebook and get it done. Often, these specialists need time to write up a report, and you’ll need that report for meetings, so get it done now.
- Nag. Any parent that has been in this situation for more than one school year knows that, more often than not, you’re going to need to nag for appointments, nag for services, nag for paperwork. Drink your coffee and be as civil as humanly possible, but extreme assertiveness is definitely the name of the game.
And as always, research, research, research! Have any new developments been made in the field(s) affecting your child? Have any new laws been passed in your area that might help? Have any new programs opened up in your district that you want to push to get into? Add these to your checklist and you’re good to go!