A Successful School Year Starts with Preparation Before the First Day
Charlie was diagnosed with ADHD when he was five-years-old. Now at the grand old age of 8 ¾ (age noted by Charlie), he is heading into the third grade. School here started August 26 th so “back to school” prep started in early August for us.
In addition to ADHD, Charlie also is a little OCD. He is very resistant to change and has some strict ideas of what should happen and when. For example, down here by April the temperatures are already in the 90s. I tried to convince Charlie it was okay to wear shorts to school instead of pants. I was told, “No, Mommy. Shorts are for summer and it isn’t summer until school is out.”
So, how do I keep my own sanity and stress level down when the countdown for Back to School starts in August? Let me count the ways….
I schedule a doctor’s appointment for Charlie in early August. This gives me a chance to talk to the pediatrician about any concerns I have about the upcoming school year. Charlie gets weighed and blood drawn to check his medication levels. If adjustments are needed, this is the time it happens.
I start to tighten up his daily morning and evening routines. I find it easier on both of us to keep Charlie on a schedule similar to the school year during the summer months. There is some leeway but not much. In early August, we start keeping the school year wake up and bedtime.
I order the school’s prepackaged supplies if offered. I know it is more expensive but for me, it is a sanity saver. Charlie’s OCD makes shopping for school supplies (or anything) a long, dragged out process. Picking out a new backpack and lunch kit took 5 stores and almost 15 minutes each.
Charlie and I start discussing the new school year together to prepare him for the upcoming known changes. If Charlie knows things will be different and to expect constant change the first month of school, his days go smoother. I find that setting an outline of things to expect helps a lot.
This year, I am also scheduling an appointment to talk to the school counselor. This is the first year where he will be changing both classrooms and teachers during his school day. I need help on how to prepare Charlie for this, as well as how to get help from the school to have the teachers and staff work to help Charlie through this new process.
This is also the first year Charlie will be subjected to Texas STAAR, which is the most recent version of standardized testing here. I need to know what accommodations, if any, they will allow for him and if there is anything I can do to make the process more comfortable for Charlie. Considering that passing these tests is required for grade-level promotion, I am stressed about all of it, and I don’t want him to stress out too.
All in all, I’m excited about the new school year and so is Charlie. Now, to keep that momentum until next June…