You know school is right around the corner, but does your child? Are you sending your little sweetie to a “special” preschool for the first time due to his apraxia? It’s a nerve-wrecking experience, but one you’ll be oh-so-glad you did. What’s the deal with these “special” schools? Are they “good enough” for your little one? Yes! A special needs preschool may have some negative connotations. Of course we all want our kiddos to be perfect, but when they’re not, this is the best thing for them—and you—trust me, I’ve been there. Wanna know why?
- These schools know kids.
- They aren’t ” just” educators, but they have almost always have additional training in special needs, learning disabilities and literacy.
- Class sizes are smaller and more manageable. Kids will receive more 1:1 assistance.
- Smaller groups and individualized lessons.
- Multi-aged classrooms mean kids can learn from older kids and older kids can help the younger ones feel more comfortable in a new setting.
- Less likely your child will be targeted by “mean kids.”
Here are some tips for you to start working on now:
- Describe the school-day routines (get a copy of the schedule from the teacher)—what happens first, where his cubby is located, the bathroom, snack and lunch routines and going home procedures. This helps prevent any surprises.
- Most schools offer a sneak peek day sometime before regular classes start. Make sure you go with your children. Get to know people who may be able to help your low-verbal or unintelligible child(ren) and point them out to your child. “If you ever need help being understood, look for this nice lady at the front desk. She will help you.”
- Practice saying these feel-good confidence boosters (it will help you and your child):
- I know you can do this
- I trust you will do well at school
- You are very important to me
- I will always love and care for you
- If you want to talk, I will listen
- Kids with apraxia have special concerns, of course. Practice saying the teacher’s name several weeks before school starts (or as soon as you know it). Depending on your child’s verbal skills, you can teach them how to ask others to join them in play, “I’m Kate. Want to play?” Or offer a variation. The more you model statements like these, the more equipped they will be to try them on their own.