Friday, March 20, 2015

Moving with a Child with Special Needs

I just made a huge cross country move, with my husband and our dog. I can't imagine what it would have been like with a child, let alone a child with special needs. Children add an extra dimension to everything. You don't just have to worry about yourself, but a whole extra being (one that isn't furry with four legs)!


Michaela Searfoorce and Ellen Parlapiano both created great lists for moving with kids with special needs, on their respective blog posts for Childmind.org and abilitypath.org. Below are a combination of their tips for moving:

1. Find a school, contact that school and make sure you have your child's current school records. In the US, if your child has an IEP, their new school is obligated to follow that IEP. Services should start the first day the child attends school. Make sure the receiving school knows about your child and has a copy of the IEP. In fact, make several copies of the IEP (in addition to vaccinations and all those other fun forms all schools make you fill out).

2. Pack more underwear than you think. Also prescription medications. With our move, our belongings were put into storage until we find a home to live in. What happens if we didn't have access to a washer and dryer? We'd need LOTS of underwear. Pack more than you think you need! Also talk with your doctors about prescription medications. Many understand the stress and time constraints within a move and will write an extra month or two on the refills so you don't have to scramble to get a new doctor, or worry about running out.

3. Visit your doctor before you leave, and set up a doctor before you get there. Make sure all vaccinations are in order, request pertinent records and have someone on call when you arrive. who knows what may happen in transit!

4. Connect with other families and make friends beforehand. With the internet and social media these days, it's easier than ever to find families in your situation and make friends who understand your situation. Look for Facebook groups in the area or find a group on Meetup.com. You'll have a support system before you arrive, and can even share babysitter's numbers so your kids can be taken care of while you're moving all your items in.


For further information and suggestions regarding moving with a kid with special needs, visit Michaela's blog here, and Ellen's blog here.

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Shelly is ready to find a house and move in!

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