STARTING primary school is a huge step for any child, but when that child has a disability, there is a whole lot more to think about.
However, families do not need to face the transition alone, with many seeking help from the Orange and District Early Education Program (ODEEP).
ODEEP manager Kylie Streatfeild said the organisation helped families understand their child's needs so they could choose a school.
"Sometimes that could be a local school, sometimes it's supported classes at a number of schools in Orange and sometimes it's a special purposes school like Anson Street," she said.
Once the decision is made, Ms Streatfeild said ODEEP helped the school put support in place and worked with children on essential skills individually or in groups during the year prior to kindergarten to help them transition successfully.
Every day, [Hunter] wakes up and asks if it's time to go to big school.Brooke Gant, mother
"We also support parents and that might mean on the first day of drop-off, we are there to support them," she said.
Hunter Gant-Drady will start at Cumnock Public School this year and has been working with occupational therapist Bronwen Atkinson.
Hunter's mother, Brooke Gant, said her son experienced developmental and neurological delays, affecting his concentration, fine motor skills and muscle strength.
"He has hyptonia, so he's very floppy," she said.
"We have a great relationship with Bronwen, last year she came to all of our appointments for the NDIS and she comes to Cumnock school to talk about protocols to help him."
Ms Gant said Ms Atkinson had been working with Hunter on his attention span and had also recommended a program where he would switch activities faster than the other children to keep him engaged.
"Before he would do an activity for a minute or two, now it's 10 minutes," she said.
"Every day he wakes up and asks if it's time to go to big school and he loves wearing his school uniform."
Regardless of a child's needs, lifestyle doctor Dr Karen Phillip has these tips for parents to get their children ready for school:
- Have lunchbox trials at home so children know which order to eat their food.
- Shop for school items with their children and allow them to choose their lunchbox or backpack.
- Label everything.
- Show children around the school so they know where they can find their classroom and toilets.
- Set clear expectations for getting ready and remember children younger than seven years old have no concept of time.
- Drop them off with a smile so they do not feel sad or anxious - a teary parent saying how much they will miss their child can make them think school is scary or bad.
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