Special Needs Parenting: Back to School

Zowie Kaye by Zowie Kaye Additional Needs

Zowie Kaye

Zowie Kaye

My Big Fat Greek Family – we love our food and love each other even more. We're a like liquorice allsorts, all a bit different. I’m a full time wor...

I have a lot of respect for what I call, “full time parents”, of SEN children, I am not one of these – my 9-5 is in the office.

The full time parents are the ones who don’t get the break and the school holidays are a true challenge for.

Not only do they have the 24/7 entertainment of said children to contend with they also have the back to school prep on top of this.

I am so thankful for online shopping!

What I do have in common with them though is the drama and difficulty that we parent face with each new school year and that is the new change of routine……. Let me explain!!

So yes this back to school September day comes around each year and it is not so much that our SEN children struggle with, it’s the things most people probably haven’t even considered:

New shoes – finding shoes that children with sensory issues can “feel right” in, but that also last long enough that we don’t have this same drama again in a few months’ time.

New socks – the shop that you usually buy your seamless socks from have changed supplier and your kid knows!! And that means you’re going to know about it – they look identical but they feel different.

New clothes – many SEN children struggle with motor skills so buttons and zips can be a skill that isn’t mastered early on, do you know how hard it is to find age 11+ pull on school trousers!

There’s a small range as this is often an oversight of the manufacturers (they are getting better though and Matalan have a wonderful range)

New classroom – potentially in a new building, my son's school was extended last year so he was going into a new classroom in a new building.

Many may think “ok… so??” – well the thing is if your child has sensory issues then this is mild torture in the form of brand new bright new lighting, new-build/ cleaning/ chemical smells, or itchy new freshly laid carpet!! Sensory overload.

New teacher -  last but not least a new person for your child to get to know, and vice-versa a new person to get to know your child and their quirky ways as well as 20 odd other children in their care where there are possibly other SEN children within the same class.

It usually takes my son a full first term to get into the flow of a new school year, by the end of each term you can tell he is getting ready for that break.

Teachers get a lot of stick as having “easy” jobs with all those holidays but I know that I couldn’t do what they do, they deserve those term breaks!!

So, some parents may seem flippant about the back to school week; I salute all my SEN parents and feel your pain, here’s to the next 52 weeks until the next school year.

May the odds be forever in our favour!


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