As the school year draws to a close and we begin to savor the summer respite, it’s a good time to begin to plan for the fall “back-to-school transition.” Paths to Literacy has prepared practical tips to ease the transition:
– For Parents: Discuss Progress: While children are still in school, it can help to initiate the back-to-school process. This can include meeting with your child’s teacher for the visually impaired (TVI) and orientation and mobility (O&M) specialist and reviewing the individualized education program (IEP) and progress over the past months.
– Look into Ordering Textbooks: Check with your child’s TVI, IEP school case manager, or classroom teacher for a list of textbooks. The TVI can order the books in the “appropriate reading medium” to ensure that your student will be ready for the fall.
– Plan for Assistive Technology Needs: Consider how adaptive tools and devices can be stored as well as whether assistive technology can be used at home, including practical skills that can be refined, such as touch typing, downloading digital books, playing computer games, and other activities.
– Review Independent Living Skills: Summer is an opportune time for children to take care of themselves and help around the home. At the same time, they will develop confidence and self-esteem while learning how to do household tasks, such as making the bed, doing laundry, and preparing snacks, independently.
– Plan for Summertime Services: Many school districts offer extended programs beyond the school year for students who need additional support to retain what they’ve learned and build on their skills. This can involve practice for specific IEP goals and can be discussed with the IEP team.
– Summer Camp and Other Activities: Many traditional camp activities, such as swimming, canoeing, hiking, and climbing a rock wall, are available at camps for children and youth who are blind or visually impaired. It’s advisable to look for camping programs that also offer practice for developing skills in independent living, recreation and leisure, socialization, and orientation and mobility. Check with your TVI or O&M specialist about camping options in your area and read more about summer camps here.
More details from Paths to Literacy are available here for Six Ways to Wrap Up the School Year.