I was talking with a couple of moms of older children (college age and graduates) and we were all saying how we miss back to school activities. Shopping for backpacks, pencils, notebooks, folders and of course clothes.
These days, some of the large retail stores will have lists of supplies that the students will need to go back to school. When you have a child receiving special education services, things are not quite the same.
Remember that IEP you put together for your child at the last IEP meeting? What did it say? What are the goals for your student? Before you go buying everything on the list, wait and talk with the teachers and therapists and see what they really are going to need.
Don’t get me wrong, there will always be a need for pencils, but in my child’s case, instead of buying #2 pencils, I asked the Occupational Therapist what we could get for her since writing was an emerging skill. My daughter also had a very hard time making any visible marks on the page with a #2 pencil so the therapist recommended a #1 pencil. That made a huge difference. She also gave us different types of grips (low tech assistive technology) to improve her grasp on the pencil. Likewise, instead of the small eraser, she recommended that we get the kind that also looks like a pen so we could be consistent with the emerging grip.
Paper was the other thing we needed to buy, and schools will suggest two types, either college rule or wide rule. Depending on where your child is in his or her writing skill these two might work or not at all. Before you invest in these, check with your teacher. They might suggest a specific type of paper. Our teacher used a method called: Handwriting without Tears, but since we moved to several schools our girls were also trained to use D’Nealian and cursive.
As far as markers are concerned, I wish we had the washable kind when my girls were little. I still remember having red marker stains on my front door just two days after moving into our new quarters. (They were still there when we left). I also love the scented markers, but those may be a little too much for children who are sensitive or might want to eat them because of the scents.
And who doesn’t love the smell of crayons!!! We chose to put the old crayons in a large bin that we still have and use every once in a while.
Another thing we bought was index cards. Those come in very handy when your teacher wants your student to work on sight words or numbers, colors or symbols. Later on they are great for math formulas, historical dates, memory project, etc, etc.
As my girls transitioned to Middle school and High school we used agendas and sticky-notes. This was a way of teaching them organizational skills. Writing down when they had tests, projects due, after school activities, field trips, etc. Most of our children have issues trying to organize their time and make it productive; these are some options to help them develop those skills. Sticky notes were put on my fridge or the calendar to remind me of signing permission slips, snacks for after school activities, or good luck on your test notes. The calendar also served as a vehicle of communication between me and the Special Education teacher and the nurses.
Good luck to all the families getting their children ready to go back to school. Now kick back, enjoy your favorite hot beverage and get ready to see your little ones and not so little ones have a great time in school.