Children with Special Needs: Starting School

Starting school is an exciting, but sometime challenging time for children with special needs. There are a few things you can do to make the transition to school go smoothly for you and your child.

Contact the school well in advance of the time your child will enter. This will give school staff time to work with you to plan for your child's educational program.

You’ll probably want to:

  • Share information about your child’s disability
  • Ask the principal about options for your child
  • Be a link between school staff and the professionals who have been working with your child

Be sure to participate with school staff in developing an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for your child. While you have the right to be consulted on both placements and individual education plans, school staff are responsible for the decisions.

What to Expect

Depending on the needs of your child, the school-based team (including teachers, assistants and school staff) works together to build a plan and offer support to your child. Ideally one person, a case manager, will be chosen to coordinate this work and will be the best person for you to talk with about your child's needs.

In addition, your child may also get help from a speech-language pathologist who will set up a language development program with the school-based team. A school psychologist may make assessments of cognitive functioning, behaviour, social skills and academic achievement. They may also help your child set learning goals and objectives.

In B.C., all students have equal access to learning, opportunities for achievement and the pursuit of excellence in all aspects of their education. Parents can make sure that their child maximizes the educational help available to them by working with the school-based team and being a liaison between the school and their child’s health professionals.