As your child heads back to the classroom, Pine Tree Society’s Children’s Case Management Team is here to help achieve a smooth transition for families, students and teachers. Below are our ten top tips. But first, do you know what a Case Manager does?
In short, Case Managers are the bridge between all aspects of a child’s life; coordinating smooth communication between providers, educators and family members. They also link families to resources they need and provide consistent follow up to be sure every detail is followed through and that all the child’s and family’s needs are met.
From a Case Manager’s perspective, here are ten things you can do right now to set your child up for success as the school year begins:
- Take some time to get comfortable with the building and school grounds again. A good way to reacclimate is to visit on the weekend and walk around, remembering all the positive experiences from past years.
- Talk about why teachers and students will be wearing masks and practice wearing one for short periods of time; gradually building to several hours.
- Develop morning and nighttime routines that work for your family. Case managers can help you create checklists so everyone can see all the steps in the routine and take part in making it work. Providers can also create social stories that break down each step of what the new back to school routines are going to be like.
- Set a schedule and expectations for what the daily routine at school will be like. This will help kids feel secure at school; allowing them to be motivated to learn. Pine Tree Society’s Case Managers take the lead with schools to map out expectations with providers and families. It all boils down to good communication and making adjustments for what works best for the child along the way.
- Remember to be patient. It will take a little while to get used to being back at school and it’s important not to push too hard while everyone is acclimating.
- Focus on your child’s strengths and interests. This will help them to be engaged and motivated to connect and learn. Sometimes it’s as simple as taking something a home provider discovers a child is doing really well at home then sharing that information with a teacher so they can carry that over during the school day.
- Set reasonable expectations. Pine Tree Society’s Case Managers will work together with your child’s teachers to manage their individualized plan and keep it on track to meet the needs of your child.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions; even when you don’t know which questions to ask. Case Managers are your guide for services and support and can help you navigate the service delivery system. It all goes back to communication about accommodations for each child, regardless of their disability, and following up and ensuring all their needs are met.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Many parents don’t know what Case Managers can do. They don’t even realize that help is out there for them or even what to ask for. Case Managers are able to get concerns met, answer questions and put everything together so a child has what they need to be successful. Supporting the family is a big part of that.
- Remember, you have needs too. Pine Tree Society’s Case Managers can help with that. We’re here to make parents aware of services and supports that make everyone’s lives easier and we can often share information on services that directly support a parent’s needs. Respite services are one such service that parents may not even know exists and can allow caregivers a much-needed break.
Contact Mike Bell, team leader of Pine Tree Society’s Children’s Case Management Program, to learn more about how we can help connect you with the services and resources you need for your child.
To be eligible for Pine Tree Society’s case management services, the child must be 0-21 years of age and be enrolled in Katie Beckett/MaineCare. Private pay is also an option. Instructions for Katie Beckett enrollment and a full list of diagnosis are available on the Pine Tree Society website at this link.