While moving can be stressful, certain tips can make it a more positive experience for your child and the whole family.
Dr. Lisa Woodcock-Burroughs from the Center for Neuropsychology Learning and Development in Ann Arbor shared advice and discussed strategies for making a move a more positive experience for children with special needs.
Talk to children about the move before it happens and involve them in the process. Share photos of your new home and city.
Research support opportunities in the new community in the new area, like programs for children with special needs or support groups for kids and parents.
Make a social story– a book that you make for your children that includes photos of their old home or school, and photos of the new. The book tells the story of their move and is specifically designed for them. Visit carolgraysocialstories.com to learn more.
Try to keep the family routines, such as bedtime routines, consistent during the move. Make sure some of your child’s favorite things, such as a treasured bedtime story or toy are still available.
Answer questions— even if children are little, take time to answer questions to help them feel safe and comfortable.
Moving is a loss. Even though it’s exciting, it can be sad for your children to lose what they left behind. Support your child in maintaining relationships with friends and others by visiting when possible, talking over Skype, or writing emails and letters.
Make connections in the community by meeting your new neighbors. Sharing information with others at the start can help create new, supportive relationships.
Your kid’s new school can be a great resource. Before the move, reach out to the school system to learn about summer offerings. Depending on the child’s disability, larger organizations such as Autism Speaks or Learning Disabilities Association of America can assist families in finding local resources.