26/05/2009 01:11 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Ask Joanne: How Do I Support My Son At Our School Meeting?

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Allie writes:

My 10-year-old son has special needs and is statemented. He's not worldly-wise at all and I'm terrified about his progression to high school next year.

We have a meeting with his school in a couple of weeks and I know this is going to come up in the discussion.

What kind of questions should I be asking and how can I be sure that I am making the right choice for him?

Read on for our life coach's reply

Hi Allie

I think every parent will share with you the apprehension you feel about your son changing schools.

Before you go into the meeting, get clear on what you want out of it: what would be the best possible result for you to leave the room with?

If you're not clear on what you want out of this meeting, inevitably you will end up disappointed. So the day before, take a few moments and ask yourself:

  • What do I want to ask?
  • What aspect of starting this new school am I most concerned about?
  • How would I like both schools to support the change? What information needs to be passed on?
  • What does the school feel the family can do to help?

If you are concerned that your son isn't worldly wise enough, this is an issue that goes beyond school. How can you help him to be more confident and independent? Can you give him a little more responsibility now?

What does he tell you about his feelings about the new school? Maybe he is looking forward to it more than you are. Have you taken him to visit it? Can you arrange for him to meet his new teachers? The known is often much less scary than the unknown, so doing this might put your mind at ease.

Watch out for him picking up on your anxiety and becoming more unsure about school than he might otherwise be.

Ultimately, we only ever know in retrospect if we have made the right decision about anything. Listen to your instinct, and your son, and they will point you in the right direction.

Good luck and let us know how the meeting goes

All the best


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