10 tips for PCSing with special kids
1. EFMP: If you are active duty be sure you are enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program and have completed overseas clearance.
2. Preparing your Child: If your child doesn’t adapt well to change, have a talk about your plans as soon a possible. Don’t drop everything in one discussion, bit by bit provide information. Give your child time to digest the news and start to come to terms with the upcoming changes.
3. Planning: Waiting until the last moment to gather information, documents, advice, etc. isn’t a good plan. Meet with your child’s teacher or case study team to discuss goals and requirements for your child. Contact your SLO to help you identify the POC for special education at your new school. If possible, set up a time for a “warm handoff” teleconference between the two teams of educators.
4. Gathering Documents: Be sure to HAND CARRY all documents. An up-to-date IEP is vital. Your new school will have to honor the IEP upon arrival. If the IEP is expired the entire process will have to begin again! The school will likely do a re-evaluation within the first month or so. Having copies of previous evaluations will be extremely helpful if there is a divergence of opinion. The Special Care Organizational Record (SCORE) may help you keep all your information in one place.
5. Furniture Pick up Day: If appropriate, allow your child to select some of the items that will go with him/her. Provide bright stickers in one color to put on all the boxes in your child’s room, so when items are delivered you know right away which items go in his/her room. This will allow you to get your child’s items out and set up quickly making him feel more at home in your new quarters.
6. Childcare: If your child won’t do well with the confusion that a moving day brings, consider utilizing hourly care or have one parent deal with the move and the other spend time with the child. You can have your child registered in CYS Services and eligible for hourly care before you arrive! Contact your local Parent Central Services for details. Or go to MWR Online Services. You will also be able to access youth sports, lessons, and activities through CYS Services. The sooner your child is involved in something they love the easier the transition will be.
7. Diet: Often when we are busy with moving and in and out of hotels we don’t exactly have stellar diets. The increase in fats, salts, and sugars may impact your child’s behavior. Be cognizant of how your child reacts to food and make choices accordingly. Have a few items handy in a bag for those times that you aren’t presented with a good choice for a peckish child. If your child has specific dietary needs, allow ample time to find what you need in your new community.
8. Patience: Allow yourself and your child a bit of slack. People don’t like change, and as a result of all the turmoil a move brings tempers may flare or standards may need to be relaxed a bit. It’s ok.
9. Make connections: Contact your SLO or Army Community Service office to find out about any support groups for parents with similar challenges. Request a youth sponsor for your child through the online application on your post’s SLO site.
10. Attitude: Children often get their cues from adults. If you approach every PCS as an adventure you will provide your child with a feeling of safety. “ If mom and dad are cool with it maybe it’s not so horrible” But if mom and dad are panicking and acting like the world is ending when things don’t go according to plan … Guess who else is more likely to feel that way? Show some POSITITUDE! It will make for an easier PCS and a happier child.
- Exceptional Family Member Program
- Army Med. Com. EFMP
- Parent Rights for Special Education
- Special Needs Toolkit
- DoDEA support directory
- DoDEA SPED Procedural Guide.
- Free online special ed. courses for parents and teachers
- Respite Care
- Military One Source
- Wright slaw
- Special Care Organizational Record
For more to help your student PCS, visit Europe Family and MWR's website for an Inbound Student Handbook.