Getting To Know You: Special Needs Student Resume

Friday, August 16, 2013

The year my son was 3, he'd already had over a year of therapy through Early Intervention, was getting private 1:1 and group OT, and had an IEP for speech therapy on hold with the school district.

In short: we knew we couldn't sign him up for plain old preschool.

But, he had put on quite the little show for the school district's evaluators at his 3 year old EI transition evaluation, and they got this crazy idea that, in their words, "he's fine."

Except that he wasn't. And we knew it.  And his doctors knew it.  And all of his therapists knew it.  And we went into debt keeping him in therapy until we sorted out which of his various doctors was going to formally bestow the inevitable autism diagnosis he needed for two reasons:

1) He's autistic.  (Duh! Just ask anyone - his therapists, his doctors, strangers at the park...)
2) It had to be on paper to get school services (Yes, that sucks. But it's reality. So let's accept it move on.)

Meanwhile, the school year and his 4th birthday were approaching and we felt strongly that he needed to start preschool somewhere

We enrolled him in a local program. He'd gone to part time daycare in their center, so they were fond of him and willing to give it a shot.  But really? They were just as aware as I was that it was a terrible fit. 

Before he started that class I really pondered how to smooth the way for him.  Then it hit me - a resume!  I write them all the time for my clients, why not write one to introduce him to his teachers?

Long story, well, ok, long... it was a hit. And I did it again when he finally started in the special needs preschool, and it was another hit.  Other parents asked me about it.  I really knew I was on to something when the incomparable Jill Smo shared my idea when school started last year.

Yesterday, my precious Bear left the comfortable predictability of his beloved special needs preschool teacher and started Kindergarten at a new school with new teachers. (Gen Ed with a 1:1 aid. Yes, I'm freaking out.)

I updated his resume and brought a dozen copies to the orientation to pass out to his teacher, the principal, the school nurse, his 1:1, the speech therapist, the janitor... ok, maybe not the janitor.  But you get the picture.  If they are listed in his IEP to provide services or have a position of authority in the school, they got one.

No crying here. Nope, not one little bit...
I also lent the teacher my copy of Answers to Questions Teachers Ask about Sensory Integration - every teacher I've loaned this book to has seemed delighted.  It's got checklists arranged by grade level, so they can copy the one or two pages that apply to their class.

I know that writing a resume isn't something everyone is comfortable doing on the fly - if it was, I wouldn't have a job.  So I wanted to share the one I created for any parents interested in doing the same to get the new school year off to a great start.

View and download a PDF of this sample Special Needs Student Resume

Download a dotx Word template for creating a Special Needs Student Resume

And here's the pin for this post on my Autism & Sensory Processing Disorder Pinterest board.

I hope this helps you as much as it's helped us.  Best wishes for a calm, meltdown free school year!