Blog #265: Helpful Tips Heading Back to School for Neurodiverse/Disabled Students

Well, it’s that time of year again…they’re going back!!

It’s Back to School 2022!!

Okay, okay, Back to School is an exciting time for a lot of families. Students moving up to the next level of their educational journey, Parents relieved that they will now have time for themselves and school personnel eager to start seeing students again.

However, for special education students who are neurodiverse or disabled, the new school year can bring about anxiety and stress even for those who have already been through the process. For some, the Back to School season can be a nightmare for both parent and child.

As of this blog, my oldest niece will be starting Kindergarten on Wednesday in Virginia and while she is not a special education student, it once again reminds me of how we often overlook that students should just “suck it up” and be pushed into the classroom.

This is considered damaging to the mental health of the student, especially if they are neurodiverse/disabled. To this end, I thought it would be nice to leave some tips for neurodiverse/disabled students to help them prepare for the new school year:

1. Start a Special School Time Schedule: Routine, routine, routine. That’s what students who are neurodiverse/disabled want to have. Setting up a time schedule will give you the upper hand in avoiding meltdowns and stressful moments in preparing for the school day.

2. Do Plenty of Practice Visits: If you are going into or returning to a school, it helps to do plenty of practice visits sort of like a rehearsal for how the school day is going to go. Families should use this time to not only get into the rhythm of the school mentality, but also use this opportunity to privately meet with the child’s teacher or other school personnel.

3. Start Your Homework Early: I’m pretty sure plenty of students dread homework, but homework is something that is part and parcel of education. I can tell you that doing your homework early, even during school hours, will be a big help and it certainly helped me when I was in Middle and High School.

4. Ask for Help if Needed: Remember that asking for help isn’t a burden to anyone, student, parent or teacher. If you need help with something whether it’s transitioning from summer vacation to first day of school, don’t hesitate!!

5. Remember that School is Your Home Away from Home: It helps to remember that going to school is like going to a second home or even a job. You are part of a community, and that community is going to accept you for who you are. Maybe not everyone will want to be a part of your community, but you will find an inner community, nonetheless.

6. Finding Friends and Allies: When it comes to school, it is the first exposure we have to building connections within our respective social circles. If you are having a hard time socially, it’s good to turn to teachers and school personnel as they are your first allies in an educational environment.

Just remember that it’s also important to take things one step at a time when it comes to going Back to School because like all things in life, you can’t force anything to happen right away. The tips that I have shared with you all have one thing in common and that’s what they are: steps.

If you are neurodiverse and are going back to school, these steps should help you out and remember that you have a support system, no matter what happens in school walls.

Catch you all later!!