Navigating the Back-to-School Chaos: A Special Education Advocate's Guide by a Special Education Advocate

Hey fam, it’s your girl, Latina Nickelson, Special Education Advocate & IEP Coach, who’s turning Chaos to Collaboration℠ for kiddos with ASD, ADHD, anxiety, learning disabilities, or developmental delay. 💪✨ As we gear up to return to school after winter break, I’m here with some real talk and tips to make the transition smoother than ever.

Let’s keep it 100: I needed winter break! It allowed me to win at the mom thing, enjoying cookie-making sessions, epic snowball fights (pretend ones, of course), and just basking in the joy of being together. And guess what? I didn’t catch myself complaining about the chaos for a solid two weeks. Yep, that might just be a record.

But here we are, about to dive back into the world of school routines. I’m not gonna lie; I’m not entirely ready for it. Our non-traditional fam of six, including two hustling-from-home adults, one 9 -5er, two neurospicy champs, and a speech-delayed toddler, is a force to be reckoned with. Life’s a wild ride, but we make it work.

Now, as we gear up for the school re-entry, here are some tips to turn your Chaos into Collaboration℠:

**1. Bedtime Bliss: Settle into a Routine**
It’s all about that bedtime routine! A good night’s sleep is the secret sauce for tackling the day ahead. Get cozy with a routine that works for your crew.

**2. Visual Vibes: Discuss the School Routine**
Our special crew thrives on visuals. Let’s keep it real: a visual schedule is a game-changer. Break down the day, anticipate transitions, and keep everyone on the same page.

**3. Snack Attack: Healthy Goodies for the Win**
We’ve all been there – the constant “I’m hungry” chorus. So, I’ve got a snack game plan: prep healthy bites in advance. Fruit, cheese sticks, and yogurt – set up a self-serve station to keep those “I’m hungry” away.

**4. Organization Nation: Materials on Point**
Organization is the name of the game. Lay out materials in the morning and have labeled packets and a designated folder for turned-in papers. It’s the key to minimizing that paperwork shuffle.

**5. Low-Key Plans: Keep it Real and Relax**
This first week, let’s focus on chilling. Our kiddos will be mentally and physically exhausted, and honestly, so will we. Plan board games, sensory play, and easy dinners. Keep it low-key, and let’s be flexible – meltdowns might happen, and that’s okay.

**6. Reward System: Celebrate the Wins**
Plan a sweet reward for the end of the week or even a daily treat for our younger champs. But remember, this isn’t about consequences. It’s about highlighting the wins, even the small ones. Reinforce that positive behavior to encourage the kiddos to succeed.

Remember, give yourself and everyone around you some grace. 2024 ain’t the year for perfection, but we’re turning Chaos into Collaboration℠ not just in the special education process but in ALL areas of our lives. Take a deep breath, decide if it’s a battle worth fighting, and if all else fails, Join The Chaos to Collaboration℠ Membership – you’re not alone in this journey.

From Chaos to Collaboration℠, we got this! 🌟💖 #SpecialEdAdvocate #ChaosToCollaboration

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