Helping Kids with Special Needs Succeed in School

A roundup of tried-and-true advice about how to help your child with special needs succeed in school, from the Kaufman Children’s Center experts.

New school books, binders, clothes, shoes and backpacks are some of the best things about back-to-school season. But fresh school supplies pale in comparison to the fresh start provided by a new school year. No matter how well your child fared in their learning last year, it’s important to do a reset and set your child up for success in the year ahead. Parents and kids can get stuck in the belief that previous school struggles or successes will be repeated. But new challenges and opportunities await. The key is preparation. And that’s particularly true for children with special needs.

Kaufman Children’s Center in West Bloomfield is one of the country’s premier pediatric special-needs centers. Its founder, Nancy Kaufman, and her expert team of speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists and board-certified behavioral therapists have helped families in Michigan, throughout the country, and even abroad find the tools and techniques to help their children with special needs live their best lives. Their decades of experience have helped them to identify some important steps parents can take to set their child with special needs up for school success:

1. Remind your child of the power of progress

We live in an age of instant gratification, so it’s easy to expect fast, obvious results. But learning doesn’t always work that way. Be sure to remind your child of the many things they learned over time, not overnight. Kaufman experts work with children every day to make incremental changes that result in big changes for a child with special needs. The same incremental approach applies to your child’s learning at school.

2. Help them focus

Pent-up energy can affect your child’s ability to focus and learn. That’s why it’s important to build in time each day for some active fun. It’s also important to have strategies to help engage your child, particularly when they have special needs.

Kaufman experts offered Metro Parent some tips to help children with special needs sharpen their focus. From homemade obstacle courses to tactile playtime (get out the shaving cream!), there are some great ideas for kids of all interests.

3. Make sleep a priority

The school year can get hectic, particularly this time of year with all of the Halloween events. But it’s important that your child gets plenty of rest. It’s good for their health, their behavior and their learning ability.

If you have a reluctant sleeper, the Kaufman experts have some tips to help your child get some all-important zzz’s.

4. Help them make friends

Part of the school experience is making friends and learning social skills and lessons. We want that for our kids with special needs, though it can sometimes be more difficult to navigate. For a child with autism, for instance, the issue can be their difficulty in maintaining eye contact and picking up on non-verbal social cues. Kaufman experts offer some smart tips on helping your child make friends. Kids who have close school connections are more likely to want to go to school, and that’s one of the most important first steps to school success.

5. Get help from professionals

If your child is struggling in school, or you are concerned about a new grade or curriculum, you don’t have to do it alone. There are experts like those at Kaufman Children’s Center who can help. Tap into their expertise and your child’s full potential by scheduling an appointment with these nationally recognized experts.

Expertise brought to you by Kaufman Children’s Center. Learn more at

Claire Charlton
Claire Charlton
An enthusiastic storyteller, Claire Charlton focuses on delivering top client service as a content editor for Metro Parent. In her 20+ years of experience, she has written extensively on a variety of topics and is keen on new tech and podcast hosting. Claire has two grown kids and loves to read, run, camp, cycle and travel.


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