Transitioning from a carefree summer to the more scheduled school day can be difficult for many children with special needs.
Usually when we need to face a potentially upsetting experience, we picture in our minds exactly what might happen. We imagine the various possibilities, rejecting some, and changing others.
Many children with special needs have trouble with the ability to picture things in their minds. They can’t imagine what could go wrong, and therefore are unable to make plans to prevent disaster from occurring.
The other problem children with special needs often have is an unawareness of time, which is a sequencing issue. Their internal clock is often running faster or slower than the rest of the world. Hence you have the child who is always late, or the preschooler who constantly asks when the next activity will be. The former’s internal body clock is slower than everyone else, while the latter’s is too fast.
You probably know already that using a daily schedule can help your child adjust and anticipate to new situations. Since I know it can sometimes be a pain in the neck to organize one, I’ve downloaded one from Boardmaker® for you to use – for free.
TIP: You can enlarge the squares if you want, laminate, and put Velcro on the back of each card. Hang up a square of carpet (you can often get a sample free from a carpet store), and put the cards on the carpet.
If you get a light colored piece of carpet with no nap, you can draw boxes with permanent marker so your child will know where to place each square.
Before school starts, let your child practice sequencing the cards in their proper order. Start with 3 cards at a time, adding one additional card each time.
This way by the time school starts, your child will have a clear picture of what will happen during the day.