From Summer to School for Behavioral Special Needs (and Everyone)

School is back in session soon. Everything will get a bit more hectic for a while. More traffic. Less relax time. Increase in responsibilities. Everyone will feel the increased pressure, but families whose children suffer with learning disabilities, developmental delays, or mental health diagnoses can quickly become overwhelmed. 

When a child in the family is receiving mental health treatment, the adjustment to the start of school can be even more stressful and complicated. Here are a few ways to make the transition from summer to school year easier:

Check in with your doctor early in the school year for adjustments in treatment
Summer break was easier, but now that school is back in session, kids may need treatment changes to keep pace with their growth and evolving needs. Don’t wait until your kid is having trouble. Check in early.

Reduce trips to the pharmacy with a 90-day supply of medication
Most insurance plans allow for extended supplies of medications. Decrease the number of things you have to remember to go and do by requesting 3 months of medication at a time.

Visit early
Adjustments are easier when the environment is familiar. Spend a little extra time in the classroom in advance (or during the first couple of weeks) to make the adjustment easier. 

Talk with the school counselor and the school nurse
Make sure your new support team knows your child’s unique needs. Arrange a meeting and fill them in before your child is having any problems.

Tutors and other help
Whether you have weekly therapy, math tutoring, and organizational help, get a schedule set at the beginning. You’ll want to build time into your schedule as well as the schedule of your support team. 

Here are ways every family can stay healthy:

Get organized
Find a place for everything. Where will the backpacks go? What about forms that need signatures? 

Family calendar
Having one place where all the appointments, meetings, and activities are written down is essential to staying on the same page.

Daily rhythms help keep things running smoothly. Eating dinner around the same time when possible, starting bath time well before the mad dash for bed, and nightly reading help kids wind down in preparation and settle in for sleep on time. Wake up rhythms help kids adjust to their school day, too. Getting up around the same time, having a healthy breakfast, and reserving a few minutes to organize and plan are all ways to start the day off right.

Early bedtime
Most kids (and parents) need more sleep than we are getting. Elementary school children need to be in bed by 8:00pm plus or minus half an hour. Even high schoolers often need to be in bed by 9:30. While it’s not always possible to get to bed as early as you want, having set bed times helps your family get more rest.

Get physical
Resist the temptation to become couch potatoes. Staying active helps balance moods and burn off stress. Get up and out often. Turn off the TV and move family time out doors. Take homework breaks for sunshine and walk around outside. Even small bursts of activity make a big difference. 

Rest, relax, and fun
Even when the schedule is hectic, take time for fun and play whenever possible. Families need relaxation and play to stay healthy. 


Posted on August 15, 2016 .