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Elementary School Supply List: Special Education Supplies

Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.


Many people look forward to shopping for school supplies every year. Even if you already have a backpack or a set of markers from the previous school year that you can still use, it's exciting to get some new supplies. Whether you are a teacher, parent, or student, I'm sure that you're familiar with the supply lists that elementary teachers put together every year. I highly recommend that special education teachers make separate lists. There are specific supplies that you will want in your classrooms as well as materials that will make transitions for your students easier, as they will not need to carry as many materials back and forth. As a parent of a special education student, consider sending some or all of these supplies with your student.


Back-to-School Supplies for Your Child with Special Needs or Disabilities

Look for bulk deals on supplies whenever possible.

  • Kleenex: You will go through lots of Kleenex in your special education room, and thus need your own supply. I recommend listing at least three boxes on the supply list. You will most likely need more throughout the year, but this should get you through the first few months of the school year.
  • 1 plastic folder with bottom pockets: It's important for special education students to have a separate take home folder for their paperwork and notes from that classroom. If having two take home folders is too confusing, teachers can consider working out a routine so that students will have time to collect their papers from the special education room and file them in their folders everyday.
  • Plastic pencil/crayon box: Having a box with basic supplies in the special education room will greatly decrease the amount of time that students spend running back and forth between the general education and special education classrooms. Many general education teachers will request boxes as well. They are very inexpensive during school supply shopping season so as a parent, pick up two of them.
  • 1 set of crayons (classic colors): Again, having duplicate materials will save both the teachers and students a lot of time and energy. Although some projects may require markers or colored pencils, crayons will cover the majority of the work that the students will need to complete.
  • Large key calculator: As a special education teacher, I worked on calculator skills with all of my students from first grade and older. Although I also taught calculation skills, using a calculator is a life skill that everyone needs to know. Having a simple calculator with large keys will make early calculator tasks less frustrating and overwhelming.
  • Glue sticks: I used lots of glue sticks for cutting and pasting when I modified work for my students as well as for lots of other projects for my classroom. Typically I requested three sticks from each student at the beginning of the school year so that they have one to use and I got two additional sticks. Again, you will probably need more throughout the year, but this will be plenty to start.

Parent Teacher Communication

Scissors: Make sure that students have scissors that are an appropriate size for their hands.

One communication notebook: I detail the importance of communication notebooks in this article. A communication notebook can be any regular notebook. Make sure that the student's name is clearly labeled on the cover or right inside the notebook so it does not get mixed up with another student's notebook.

Complete change of clothes: Even older students may need a change of clothes at some point during the school year. For example, a fourth grader may slip in a mud puddle at recess or spill milk down his shirt during lunch. For younger students, it is helpful to have extra clothes in both the general and special education rooms. Consider seasonally appropriate clothing. Shorts are perfect for the first month of school, but make sure that the student has pants available, too. If parents don't provide warmer clothing at the beginning of the year, send a reminder later.

Clorax wipes: Wipes are extremely helpful for quick sanitation throughout the classroom. Teachers or aides can wipe surfaces down when they have a few extra moments during the day. Students can also assist with cleaning, especially areas of the classroom that they use frequently, such as their desks. One container of 75 wipes from each student is plenty of wipes for a school year.

Hand sanitizer: Although hand sanitizer does not replace the need to wash your hands regularly, it is very helpful to keep around so you and your students can quickly sanitize throughout the day as needed.

Copy paper: The district where I taught special education for four years almost always ran out of white copy paper by the end of the school year. It was very helpful to have some extra packs around, especially for completing IEP paperwork. It is also nice to have on hand for students to use as scrap paper and for any number of art projects. Additionally, I used a lot of it for modifying student work .

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Anything that I should add to this list? Let me know!


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Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on October 02, 2012:

Thanks, Cyndi! Haha that is so true. I was just talking to a mom today who recently got pooped on by her newborn while she was feeding him in the car. She had clothing changes handy for him and her two other little kiddos but not herself. :)

Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on October 02, 2012:

This is a great list for anyone who really wants to be on top of things and organized during the school year. Heck, even adults can use a change of clothes: I once had a kiddo get sick on me when I was teaching. lol

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on October 02, 2012:

That's great, Kelley! Thanks.

kelleyward on October 02, 2012:

Nice job. I'm sharing this list with some special education teachers I know. Voted up! Kelley

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 21, 2012:

That's great, Julie! Thanks!

Blurter of Indiscretions from Clinton CT on August 21, 2012:

I can use this list for home too..nice job! :)

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