1. Begin with a fresh start.
This is a new school year, which means it’s an opportunity for a brand new start! Your child has different teachers, different classmates, maybe your child is even in a new school. Either way, this year you know more.
You know what words to use, you know the IEP system better and that your child’s school is legally required to serve your child, you know how to work with your child, and you know that your child can succeed with this support.
And, this year, you have a whole team of support behind you! Just remember: you, the parent, know your child best; you, the parent, are the most important part of the team; you, the parent, are empowered.
2. Fill out Beginnings’ Back to School Introduction Letter
This letter will provide important information about your child to his/her teacher(s). Providing your child’s teacher(s) with information about your child before the school year starts can be a great way to prepare them so that they know how to best work with your child.
The Introduction Letter includes basic information about your child, their likes/dislikes, and information about their hearing loss, skills, and communication strategies. It also has a section covering the best way(s) to communicate with you and other involved family members. Just fill out this letter and give a copy to each of your child’s teachers. If you need some help filling this out, call Beginnings SC. At the 2017 Back to School Bash, there will be a workshop explaining this with more detail. Join us!
3. Find Your Child’s Most Current Audiogram and IEP
When we talk about current audiological evaluations for your child, we mean an evaluation that was completed less than one year ago. You may already have an audiological evaluation that is less than a year old for your child. If so, find it! You will want to have this on hand for meetings at the beginning of the school year. If your child’s most current audiological evaluation is older than one year, you will want to have one done soon, preferably before the school year starts.
Having the most current, up-to-date information about your child’s hearing, is important so that their current hearing status can be explained to new school personnel and considered when reevaluating their IEP.
Maybe there have been changes during the summer. Look over the most recent IEP and see if there are changes that need to be made. If so, set up an IEP meeting for the beginning of this coming school year.
4. Check That Your Child’s Amplification Systems Are Working Properly
This is an important aspect! If your child has an amplification system – hearing aids, cochlear implant, etc – be sure that it is clean and in working condition. If your child is at an appropriate age, with him/her so he/she can start learning the importance of caring for their equipment. If the equipment belongs to the school district, go ahead and contact the teacher of the deaf/hard of hearing that works with your child and request a status update.
Send extra batteries to school with your child so that if a battery dies unexpectedly, he/she will not lose an opportunity. This will also teach your child self-advocacy skills.
5. Meet With School Staff
Contact your child’s Teacher of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing and set up a time to meet the staff at your child’s school. This is a great way to prepare them for working with your child, ensuring that all needs and accommodations are met, and that they know you will be holding them accountable.
You’ll want to give them a copy of your completed Beginnings SC’s Back to School Introduction Letter and go over it with them. This will allow everyone to be on the same page and have time to ask questions about your child.
Also, make sure that everyone knows your child’s accommodations – the more knowledge they have, including knowing that you know what your child needs, the more likely they are to serve your child to the best of their ability. Inform the teachers about the best way to stay in touch with you and other involved family members. Show them the last page in the Back to School Introduction Letter that has this information.
The more prepared and knowledgeable you can make the school staff, the better the year will be for your child!
6. Take Your Child to School
This is especially important for your child transitioning to a new school, but also important for a child returning to the same school. During that first week before students start, go to the school and walk around. Meet new faces in the front office. Stop by and see the nurse, guidance counselor, and the administration. Look around and notice if there are new initiatives – like a new behavior incentive program for all students – so you can help your child about
7. Make Sure Your Child Has School Supplies
Your child’s teacher(s) should send out a list of the school supplies that your child will need throughout the year. Make sure your child has all of them and a good way to keep them organized and together so that he/she will be well-prepared and not lose them!
SC’s tax-free weekend is coming up soon– August 4-6, 2017 this year. Get more info at https://dor.sc.gov/TaxFreeWeekend.
Items that are tax-free that weekend include:
- School supplies
- Computer equipment
8. Attend the Back to School Bash
Beginnings SC is partnering with the SC Association of the Deaf, the SC Chapter of Hands & Voices, and the Irmo Fire Department for the 2nd Annual Back to School Bash! This event will be held on Saturday, July 22, 2017 from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm, the Back to School Bash will be located at Seven Oaks Park and Recreation Center, located at 200 Leisure Lane, Columbia, SC, 29210.
This is a FREE event open to all Deaf or hard of hearing families in SC – parents of deaf and hard of hearing children and Deaf and hard of hearing parents and their families.
It’s a chance to meet other parents, a time for kids to play fun games and connect with other kids, and an opportunity to learn about the many resources available in SC for deaf and hard of hearing families! This year will have free workshops with topics such as Back to School Prep and dealing with bullies-one for parents and one for DHH kiddos.
We will have interpreters, games, a wide variety of vendors providing information, and opportunities to meet other parents, kids, and families!
You won’t want to miss this, so come on out to prepare for the start of the best school year yet!
RSVP to make sure your child has the opportunity to get free school supplies.