Back to school is quickly approaching and the tax free weekend in Missouri is this weekend (August 2-4)! Unfortunately, Kansas does not have a tax free weekend. Everyone on the Kansas side, cross the border and save some money!
When purchasing supplies for your kids and students, it’s important to keep in mind any special needs that might come up. For instance, some kids with sensory issues may not be able to use school glue due to the smell, or the texture, or they may lack the ability to squeeze the bottle. Purchasing glue sticks and Q-tips (for when glue sticks just aren’t enough) to dip in the glue may be necessary.
With these thoughts in mind, below is a list of special needs school supplies that teachers, therapists, and parents may want to consider purchasing. Some of these items may be tax exempt and others may not. :-(
Backpack~ make sure that your child’s backpack is something he or she will wear. If your child has sensory issues, it may be difficult to find a backpack that is comfortable. In that situation, try a different kind of bag. If your child can not carry a backpack or bag, call the principal to discuss alternatives and make accommodations to the IEP as necessary. Alternatives may be a messenger bag or rolling backpack.
Pencils~ for kids with fine motor difficulties, holding small pencils may be difficult. Try different kinds of pencil grips and see what ones work best. If pencil grips don’t help, try a different type of pencil or possibly a larger pencil. Another option is to contact an occupational therapist for different pencil grips or writing utensils.
Crayons~ as with pencils, kids with fine motor difficulties may find coloring with small crayons nearly impossible. For these kids, using large crayons or markers may be a better alternative.
Bottle of washable glue~ while the washable glue is great for many projects, some kids may need a glue stick instead due to sensory issues involving the smell and/or texture of the glue. If the student can not squeeze the glue bottle, have a dish and Q-tips available for the kiddo to glue projects together.
Scissors~ some scissors are easier to use than others. Check that your child can open and shut the scissors before sending them to school.
Pocket folders~ for kids who may be sensitive to bright colors, make sure the folders he/she uses are not too bright. Also, for kids with fine motor difficulties, purchase very durable folders. The less expensive paper folders may tear easily when your child puts papers into his/her folder. The thicker folders are less likely to tear and should last longer.
Eraser~ purchasing extra erasers may be a good idea for kids who like things to be “just so.” Pencil erasers can cause smudging and don’t last as long as the big erasers. Having a large supply can help ease a kiddo’s mind who struggles with perfection.
Pens~ the grip on the pen is important for comfort in using the pen. Also, the type of ink can make a pen easier to use. If your child loses things frequently, purchasing pens with caps is probably not the best idea. Look for retractable pens instead.
Highlighters~ Unless the supply list has a specific color, find a color that won’t disturb your child’s eyes. If a specific color is listed, and your child has difficulty with that color, talk to the teacher about allowing your child to use a different color. Also, if your kiddo often loses small items, look for retractable highlighters rather than ones with small caps.
Ruler~ Find a ruler that your kiddo can read easily and is durable.
Pencil bag~ be sure to practice zipping and unzipping the pencil bag if your child struggles with this fine motor skill. Another option is to forgo a bag that zips and look for one that velcros instead. If you can not find a velcro bag, you can purchase velcro that sticks (you can sew it for added support) and leave the bag unzipped.
Notebook paper~ be sure that the paper suits your child. For a child whose writing is large, purchase wide lined paper. For kids who writes very small, narrow or college rule may be best.
Calculator~ find one that best suits your child. If a scientific calculator is not necessary and the many buttons may be confusing, don’t buy it (no matter how cool your kiddo thinks it is). There are many options for calculators. They come in different sizes and colors. Your kiddos should be able to find one that will look “cool” without being overwhelming. Also, many schools will not allow cell phones or iPods to be used as calculators. You do need to purchase a separate calculator.
Planner~ Even though many schools provide a planner or agenda, your child may need one that suits his/her needs better than the one the school provides. Usually the format of the school planner does not change from year to year, so if the planner was not successful for your child in previous years, it probably will not be successful again this year. Look for a planner that gives your child what he/she needs to keep track of assignments. That could be more space to write, more lines, a space for each subject, whatever your child needs. Planners can be expensive, so this would be a good item to purchase during the tax-free weekend.
Printer ink~ for a child who loses homework easily, emailing assignments to and from the teacher may be a good accommodation. Printer ink may be necessary to print off those assignments to be completed at home.
There are more supplies and more items that can be purchased before school begins. Check back for more ideas to prepare your kiddo/s for a new school year.