Back to School Checklist for Students with Special Needs


As fall rolls around and the new school year begins, it is important ensure that your child will get off to a good start for the new year. If your child is a student with special needs it is critical to make sure that the following three things are up to date:

Emergency contact information for second and third tier contacts.

In some situations, school personnel may not be able to reach you in an emergency situation. If this is the case, the school will look to the second and third tier contacts, i.e. grandparents and neighbors, listed on your child’s emergency card. If the names or phone numbers of these contacts have changed over the last year, you should inform the school so that this information can be updated in the school’s records.

Medical information

Including any changes to prescriptions and dosing even if your student is not taking medication at school. Many medications have side effects that may impact a student at school even if they do not take the medication at school. Teachers and school personnel help identify these side effects and inform you of any changes that you may need to communicate to your child’s medical team. It is also important for the school to have updated information about your child’s medical providers.

IEP/504/Service Plan documents.

If your child has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), Section 504 Plan, or Non-Public Service Plan, it should be updated every calendar year. Check your records to make sure that you have a copy of the plan and that the plan document has been updated within the past year. As a parent, you can request a status meeting or a new plan meeting at any time during the year and make changes based upon your child’s needs in the school environment.