For a child with a disability, change can be very difficult. Many of these children rely on routine and consistency, so when a major change comes it can be very difficult for them – and for you as their parent. The first thing a parent of a child with special needs should do before sending him/her to a new school is to the visit the school with the child. You can take pictures of the building so they can become familiar with their new surroundings. While at the school, ask questions and inform the relevant staff about your child’s needs. Ask for a copy of your child’s schedule so you can prepare your child for the day.

Once school begins, walk your child to class for a few weeks. Then, keep in regular contact with the teacher. If possible, stop in sometimes and visit your child in his/her classroom to ensure he/she is feeling comfortable and that you are satisfied with the way his/her classroom is running.

“She is a tree of life for those who hold fast to her, and happy are those who support her.”

Pirkei Avot - Ethics of the Fathers 3:18

Local Resources

Making a Smooth Transition to School
Most school districts require special education teachers to hold an IEP transition meeting when a student is moving into a new program or school. Veteran special education teachers know that the students who suffer the most anxiety are often the ones who are making some sort of transition. This transition can be from the home to a classroom environment for the first time, from one classroom to another or from one school to another. These transitions are hard for even the most capable students, so they are understandably even more difficult for students with special needs.

The Dan Marino Foundation
The Dan Marino Foundation (DMF) is a results-driven nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of persons with autism or other developmental disabilities. Using innovative approaches to problem solving and leveraging the latest computer technologies, the DMF is creating unprecedented opportunities for the disability community. At the core of the Foundation’s initiatives is Marino Campus, an intensive 10-month post-secondary educational program to help young adults with autism or other developmental disabilities bridge the gap between high school and employment.

Americans Live With an Autism Spectrum Disorder
of Children Have Been Diagnosed with a Developmental Disability