Campus Orientation Checklist
For a checklist of all the above concerns that you can bring with you on a campus tour, check out our printable list here.
Mapping the campus
Start at the front of the building, then move to the perimeter and hallways.
- The nurse’s office and the main office are usually close to the front of the school, so it may be easier to use those as anchors in the event the student gets lost or needs to reorient themselves.
- For students who are rote travelers and need systematic, unchanging routes, map only their schedule and leave out anything extra. As time passes, you can add more information as the student gets comfortable.
Mapping the campus
A lot of teachers of students with visual impairments conduct a learning media assessment to determine the primary learning channel that a student uses — auditory, visual, tactile, or a combination — and get creative with how they create the maps. This approach works well for all students: it’s important to come up with a format that includes landmarks that will be meaningful to the student. Creating landmarks a student will remember can help them find an anchor when they also have to deal with crowded hallways.
Zottoli recommends the app Book Creator to map the school using photos, videos, and sound effects.
What additional questions can parents ask?
- If your school hasn’t developed an emergency plan specific to your child yet, you’ll want to request a meeting to discuss adding it to their IEP.
- Ask for your student’s schedule ahead of time, and request that it be provided in the appropriate format for the student (for example, large print, Braille, auditory access, etc.).
- Will there be a monitor on field trips? Will there be someone familiar with travel needs and adaptations? Can the family be notified ahead of time in the event they want to preview the field trip area with their child?
- If the student uses assistive technology that is large or difficult for them to carry, who’s going to transport that from classroom to classroom? How will that work? When the equipment comes home at the end of the day, who will help the student get it to the bus or pickup?
- Who’s going to provide the accommodations? Sometimes, that can get confusing. Is it the teacher or the specialist?
- What happens in all of these scenarios when there’s a substitute aide, teacher, or specialist? There can be a lot of breakdowns when there is a substitute teacher or provider, Zottoli explains — especially when accommodations don’t get passed on to the substitute, making for a very difficult day for the student.