One of the hardest things for children with special needs or high sensitivity to do is handle transitions. Any child recognizes the difficulties of heading back to school in the fall. New teachers, new classrooms, new assignments, and new friends can turn what should be a happy time into an anxiety-filled few weeks – through no fault of your child’s, and no fault of your own.
Mitigating turbulent transitions through therapy
When you are helping your child start a new school year, there are some tips from the experts that can prove to be therapeutic. First, acknowledge your child’s emotions. Ask your child how he or she is feeling. Is it nervous, frightened, or confused? Sometimes, children may not be able to verbally communicate how they are feeling. You can use keen observation to help you understand, and spending time with your child through this period will go a long way. Work with your child’s therapist and care team to develop some child-focused coping mechanisms and routines throughout the back-to-school transition.
One way to mitigate school-based apprehension is to engage in some role play with children. Walk them through a typical day, role-playing a teacher and student. You can also role play as peers, which aids in the development of making friends.
Showing children that it’s okay to laugh in the face of adversity can help usher in a smooth transition. Additionally, you’ll certainly want to show them that they can learn from each moment. There’s no need for your child to feel shame about not knowing something or even being nervous – that’s part of the experience, and can be part of the fun. Lastly, sensitive children can benefit from breathing exercises and encouragement to self-soothe. If loud noises, bright lights, and overstimulation are an issue, remind your child that deep breathing or “taking a break” are always options. Keep calm and help your child do the same.
Tiny Tots Therapy wants to help your child feel ready and excited for the school days ahead. We service children of all ages and offer child-based therapies at our locations throughout New Jersey. We practice a team model in the therapy process to drive children to the next level and to assist their integration into the community. To learn more, call us at 1-888-951-TOTS (8687).