Helping Your Child with Spina Bifida Transition To School

If your child has spina bifida, helping them transition to school can be a challenge. With the right preparation and support system, though, you can make sure that your child is well-equipped to handle the transition and succeed in their educational pursuits. Read on for tips on helping your spina bifida child adjust to the new school environment.

Clear communication with everyone involved in the process.

Communication is key to ensure your child’s successful transition to school. Make sure you develop a clear, cooperative relationship with all people involved in the process, from teachers, therapists and paraprofessionals to school administrators. That way, everyone is aware of their roles and responsibilities for helping your child reach their full educational potential.

Make sure your child is well aware of their own individual needs and how to vocalise them.

It’s important for children with spina bifida to understand that their needs may differ from the other students. Encourage your child to become comfortable in voicing them, such as requesting assistance toileting or with equipment and support. Empower your child by teaching them how to advocate for themselves and explain what they need in order to feel comfortable and succeed in school.

Develop educational goals that are achievable, yet still challenging for your child’s growth.

It's important to create measurable goals and expectations for your child's educational success. Establish a plan that works for their abilities and feelings of comfort. Work with teachers and therapists to assess your child’s needs and work cooperatively to set realistic goals for the school year. Be sure the goals encompass social, emotional, physical, language, and cognitive skills. Additionally, make sure you adjust their educational objectives as needed if they master something or it proves too difficult .

Encourage your child to take Initiative and participate in school-related activities.

When your child feels suitable to take on new challenges and the responsibility of additional tasks, encourage them to do so. Participating in extracurricular activities such as school clubs, student councils or sports teams can have a positive effect on both their physical and emotional development. Additionally, your child can benefit from being responsible for tasks they are passionate about like field trips, volunteering and serving roles as leaders. This is a great opportunity for them to expand their existing skill set too.

Schedule regular visits and meetings with school staff to ensure the transition process is successful.

A smooth transition from home to school is key for your child’s success. It is important to stay in contact frequently with school staff to make sure your child’s needs are being met and their environment is accommodating for their disability. To ensure that everything is going smoothly, arrange regular visits and meetings with teachers, counselors and school administrators so that you can ask questions and share any issues or concerns you have regarding the transition process. Additionally, these visits give your child an opportunity to meet the people they will be working with throughout the year.


How Spina Bifida Affects School and What Parents Can Do to Help Their Child | Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (

Kidshealth: Spina Bifida Factsheet (for Schools) | Akron Children's Hospital (

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