Happy New School Year!
(The first day of Middle School for my GIRL)
Arizona started middle school this fall and her responsibilities have increased drastically from her days in elementary school.
Because there are more things to organize and remember (read: executive functioning and recall practice in full effect), we have put together a few tools / habits that help reduce chaos and disorganization throughout the school year.
A big part of Arizona’s therapeutic program is investing in more activities that will assist with her overall life skills. What I have found is a few things:
- I tend to underestimate what my child can do on her own
- I need to allow my child more opportunities to do things independently (this requires much patience on my end)
- Once my child has demonstrated that she CAN do something on her own, there is much acknowledgement (non-celebratory / more matter-of-fact delivery) that she CAN do it.
- It is usually my limited belief system that gets in the way of what my child can do on her own (she is always blowing me away with her progress and independence)
- I need to LET GO of trying to control everything for my child and see what happens (again: I am usually blown away by all that she CAN do)
- Visuals can help tremendously!
As always, I share our goals and practices with Arizona’s team (her school behaviorist / aide, her occupational therapist, her social skills group leader and her support team at school), so that we are all on the same page. (Remember: team work makes the dream work!)
Here’s an example of a visual that has been helpful for us to review each evening before school and that is posted on the wall by the garage door before we leave for school in the mornings. I give Arizona the responsibility of making sure she has everything on her checklist.
Arizona’s Morning Checklist: SCHOOL DAYS
Communication Notebook (for behaviorist and mom)
Binder for History / English
Binder for Math / Science
HOMEWORK that’s DUE!
Every Monday: PE CLOTHES
*Any field trip slips or forms that need to be signed by Mom
*MAKE SURE FOLDERS ARE STOCKED WITH: loose leaf paper, colored pencils, erasers, pencils, black + blue pen, highlighters, red pen, folders w/ dividers!
So far, the list of words has been helpful enough for Arizona, but adding pictures (either hand drawn or images from online) can be even more effective. You know your child and what will work best for them at this stage.
I would love to hear about your best school practices with your children. What are your tools for successful school days? What have you learned about your child that you were pleasantly surprised about? Feel free to comment below or email me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you!
In the meantime, I am wishing you all a very happy school year!