This week’s episode is a special back-to-school episode to help families prepare for easing into the coming school year with as much confidence and serenity as possible. I’m grateful to be joined by Amanda Morin, a writer, parent advocate, a former educator, and the Senior Writer & Expert, Education at one of my favorite go-to resources, Understood. Amanda and I cover a lot of ground in this episode in looking at the different potential concerns and stressors for kids this time of year, which will vary depending on their age and grade level, and we’ll talk about how we can support our kids through them, how to kick the year off on the right foot with our child’s teachers, how much support and scaffolding our kids need, and how we as parents can best prepare ourselves, too.
After you’ve listened to the episode, I recommend you check out Understood’s Back to School Toolkit which features expert-vetted tips, tools and videos can help you and your child feel more confident and prepared for the first day of class. There are two back-to-school kits for you to dive into:
- Start School Strong (2018)
About Amanda: Amanda Morin is a writer, parent advocate, a former educator, and senior writer and expert, Education at Understood. She collaborates across many teams at Understood to provide parent-friendly resources, expert advice and strategy for in-person interactions with parents and educators. As a teacher, she worked in classrooms as an early intervention specialist for 10 years. Since 2007, she has been working as an education writer and, more recently, as a parent advocate to empower parents and affirm the pivotal role they play in their child’s education.
During her years as an early childhood educator, she taught kindergarten and worked with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers with disabilities. She provided education and training to parents of children with disabilities and led multidisciplinary teams in developing and implementing Individual Family Service Plans.
Morin received a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Maine and special education advocacy training from the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates.
She is the author of three books: The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education, The Everything Kids’ Learning Activities Book and On-the-Go Fun for Kids: More Than 250 Activities to Keep Little Ones Busy and Happy—Anytime, Anywhere!
About Understood: In collaboration with 14 nonprofit partners, Understood.org is a free resource and community supporting parents of the 1 in 5 kids with learning and attention issues. Understood empowers millions of parents through personalized resources, daily access to experts, interactive tools and a supportive online and on-the-ground community.Winner of the 2015 Webby Award for Best Family/Parenting Site and the 2016 Cynopsis Award for Best Branded Digital Platform, Understood is powered by the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD). For more information and resources, visit Understood.org, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.
THINGS YOU’LL LEARN FROM THIS EPISODE:
- Why back to school is such a tricky time for kids, and what concerns and challenges they are facing depending on their age/grade
- When and how to talk to new teachers about our challenges our children may experience in the classroom
- How can we help our child learn how to best advocate for themselves at school, as well as understand their accommodations
- Ideas for creating scaffolding for our kids while giving them opportunities to stretch
- Special considerations for kids who are starting new schools this year
- The role collaborative and proactive problem solving can play when prepping for a new school year
- The importance of creating a safe, secure space for our kids at home
- The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education: A Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Advocating for Your Child with Special Needs by Amanda Morin
- The Everything Kids’ Learning Activities Book: 145 Entertaining Activities and Learning Games for Kids by Amanda Morin
- On-the-Go Fun for Kids!: More Than 250 Activities to Keep Little Ones Busy and Happy–Anytime, Anywhere! by Amanda Morin
- The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed by Jessica Lahey
- ADHD Medication Log (download from Understood)
- How to Help Your Child Get Comfortable with a Combination Lock (tutorial on Understood)
- How to Open a Combination Lock (download from Understood)
- Self-Advocacy Sentence Starters (article on Understood)
- Back-to-School Introduction Letters (download from Understood)
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