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12. The New Classroom or School When Challenged
The new school year is beginning and for students with learning disabilities it may be more than a change of teachers with which to cope.
Beginning in a new school or classroom with different students, surroundings, atmosphere, schedules, teachers and aides may upset the students also coping with learning disabilities.
Before the year begins, make an appointment to have a chat with the teacher with your child present in the new classroom, including time to walk around the room taking a look at each station and also getting directions to the restroom.
This time to breed familiarity with new surroundings in a unhurried fashion lets the student develop a level of comfort with where things are kept - one less level of stress in the early school year.
For the parent and teacher a brief meeting is a time to get to put a face to a name and begin the process of open communication for any later discussions about your child's work or adjustments.
After the visit, make an art project at home by having your child draw or paint a picture of their new classroom, encouraging them to include as much as they remember about it in their picture. Then, praise the artwork and ask the child to tell you about the drawing - reinforcing and familiarizing the student with the new surroundings and teacher.
After your child has experienced either the first day in the new classroom or after a few days sit down with your student and ask her to tell you about the daily schedule.
Now, don't say "tell me what you did today," - that is an overwhelming question. Rather, say something like "tell me about the story you listened to in reading time." In other words, be concise and specific. It doesn't matter what in particular you ask about. It is a way to engage your child in discussion about what's happening in their new classroom.
Perhaps the conversation will open the door to your child telling you about more of what's happening for him on other levels, like interpersonal relationships or any problems he feels he is having fitting into the daily school-time routine.
This conversation could even take place in the car driving home from school or after-school daycare. All the little nuggets of time when you are together are precious opportunities for communication.
Parents, take the extra effort to pay close attention to your child's needs at the beginning of the school year so the adjustment goes as smoothly as possible!
Article by Susan Kramer
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All articles copyright © 2000-2017 Susan Kramer