By Leslie Lindsay
It may be that the days of sunshine and freedom are coming to end. Our little people head to school again–soon. If your child also has childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), that can mean more worries and concerns for you.
Here’s a few tips to get you started preparing kids for back-to-school (adjust according to age, developmental level):
- If your kiddo will be headed off to school for the first time without you (language-based, special-ed preschool), begin by chatting about the change in positive terms, “Hey, guess what?! You’ll be going to preschool soon.” You can show a calendar page with the date and the days leading up to school.
- We drove by the preschool several times on our way around town. Once, we even packed a picnic and had lunch at the playground.
- When you learn the name of your child’s teacher, practice saying it. You may want to even have your private-based SLP work with your child on the teacher’s name, along with other school-based words or phrases (“Wait!” “I need help,” “My name is____.” “Want to play?”)
- You may consider talking or sending an email to your child’s prospective teacher (even the principal) so they may get acquainted with your child. Always be positive in your letter, “I would like to introduce you to my child, ____. She is a great kid who loves art, reading, and being active (or whatever works for your child). But she has a speech disorder called childhood apraxia of speech. (Expand a bit as to what CAS means for you and your daughter.). Talk about how teachers can be helpful for your child. Remember, CAS doesn’t always appear in the same way in every kid.
- Head to the Apraxia-KIDS website for a free, download-able, printable letter written by Sharon Gretz (founder) in which you can tweak for your situation. http://www.apraxia-kids.org/atf/cf/%7B145ba46f-29a0-4d12-8214-8327dcbaf0a4%7D/letter_to_a_teacher.pdf
- Older kids, well….it all depends on where they’re at in terms of speech and language. Talk with your private SLP (if you have one) and see if they can’t connect with the school-based SLP. If you know the name and contact information for your school SLP, you may consider filling out a records release form now, before things get too hectic. Sometimes private and school-based SLPs compare notes to make sure every one is “on the same page,” in terms of goals. Get them on the same team now.
- You may also want to pull out copies of last year’s IEP and review. How is your child doing with some of those goals? Any backtracking over the summer? What might you want to see your child focus on this year? You are just as much a part of the IEP “team” as they are.
Let me know if you have any other ideas about getting your child with CAS ready for school! I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by clicking on “comments” of today’s blog.