Preparing for Back-To-School Busyness: Providing a Positive Back-To-School Experience for Your Student with Disabilities

a little girl in a wheelchair exiting a school bus with the assistance of a wheelchair lift and a care attendant

It’s that time of year again: back-to-school season is upon us. For some kids, it means moving up into a new school, getting ready for new academic challenges, and the chance to catch up with school friends they haven’t seen all summer. For older students, they might be getting ready for freshman college courses for the first time. We want your students and your families to feel supported during a time that can sometimes feel stressful. As you get ready for your student’s academic career to start again or for the first time, here’s what you have to expect.

BraunAbility Will Be There In Your School Bus

BraunAbility is one of the main providers of lifts for school busses and according to the ADA, all publicly funded schools must provide a bus with accessible solutions. Your bus driver will have been familiar with the operation of the wheelchair lift and will safely transport your child to school and back home at the end of the day.

Maybe you are interested in taking your own child to school this year. That’s very possible too! BraunAbility also offers full conversion wheelchair accessible vehicle designs in the  popular makes, models, and various trim levels. Learn more about our accessible vehicles here or schedule a free consultation with your local dealer to learn about our products first-hand.

Your Child is Protected by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) protects your child by stating that students with disabilities should be instructed in the same classroom as people without disabilities as much as possible. Students with needs for adaptive equipment for visual or hearing aids should come with the needed items to facilitate learning. Schools are funded through IDEA as long as they meet its requirements.

Communicate with Your School Administration on Your Child’s Needs

Every person with a disability is different, and it is your job to help your school administrators and child’s teachers understand who your child really is beyond what paperwork and records might say about them. School is a wonderful opportunity for socialization and to be immersed in new and challenging environments. But we also want to ensure our kids are well supported. So explain to teachers and other aides what your child may need
throughout the day. Does your child sometimes need a break or a nap in order to behave in the afternoon? Can your child follow classroom routines without an adult helper? How much might your child’s teacher need to adjust expectations of performance for your child? Having open and clear communication will allow your child to be challenged appropriately without becoming distressing.

Don’t Forget the Fun of Back-To-School Shopping!

We all know half the fun of going back to school is the back-to-school shopping. Showing off new folders, pencils, and shirts help kids feel confident. Maybe as a parent of a child with a disability, you’re worried their clothes aren’t appropriate to their age or you aren’t sure how to shop to find modified closures or dresses specially hemmed to keep out of the wheels of a wheelchair. Welcome to the wide world of adaptive clothing! Learn more about adaptive clothing and your options here.

Be Your Child’s Advocate When It Comes to Access

In your regular check-ups with your child, ask them about accessibility at the school. While the school may tout that they are wheelchair accessible and ADA compliant, people who use mobility aids like wheelchairs are often able to spot problem areas easier. For example, are the paper towel dispensers or air blowers positioned low enough to be usable by the student in a wheelchair without assistance? Are the tables and desks your child is using throughout the day able to be used from a wheelchair instead of a standard classroom chair? Ask for feedback and don’t be afraid to approach the school administration with these problems to find solutions.

Whatever level your student is at and regardless of the level of care needed throughout the day, it’s important to remember that you have a team of people who want to provide the best possible care for your child, from the moment they board the bus in the morning with BraunAbility, to the moment they come home and all the moments in between. Get ready for an incredible school year! 

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