In a classroom setting it is difficult for your special needs child to receive all that is needed to address their specific symptom(s) and learning capabilities. Although adequately trained, many teachers follow what they think is the best course of action which, especially with novice educators, may need tweaking by the parents themselves.
Step in and let your child’s teacher know your concerns so that they can successfully communicate with you and your child. Teachers will often appreciate the feedback, and this will guarantee everyone is doing the best job they possibly can.
Use Your Chops
A good way to really connect with your child’s special needs teacher is by conveying what has worked best. The direct and subtle tactics, targeted compassion, detailed patience, and so many other well learned maneuvers are your priceless tools for less stress and more results.
If you can display your hard earned bonding merits achieved with your child, their teacher just may follow suit. A teacher that is able to bond with their student will inevitably be able to communicate with you on a much better level. Some reminders of bonding tips include:
- Face-to-face verbalization
- Allow independence and not be overprotective
- Be as honest and straightforward as you can
- Remain positive and avoid pity
- If possible, make contact with the child as much as you can
- Practice non-judgemental listening skills
- Maintain involvement in the child’s interests
- Speak softly, never threaten and always show respect
According to PBS Parents, Inclusive Education is, “…when children with and without disabilities participate and learn together in the same classes.”
“Research shows that when a child with disabilities attends classes alongside peers who do not have disabilities, good things happen.” If your child is eligible for an inclusive education classroom, it could be beneficial for them on many different levels. Learning communication skills by interacting with their peers is one.
This can positively affect how the child may communicate with their parents as well as their teachers. In turn, when communication flows along these lines, parents and teachers end up having a more successful relationship too.
Steps for Special Needs Parent/Teacher Communication
The following steps, posted by the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY), are not far from what any parent should address regarding their child’s education. These offer an excellent reference when attempting to establish successful parent/teacher communication especially in an inclusive education program. Overall, it is a good template to refer to as a reminder and may even serve as a possible handout to teachers that may need a gentle nudge toward better communication with you, the parent, as well as your child.
- Inform the School – When registering your child for school, indicate in writing that he or she has special needs.
- Meet with the Principal – You can ask questions related to school safety, routines, resources and steps that will be taken to address your child’s special needs.
- Meet with the Teacher – Do this as soon as possible, and definitely before the first IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting. Use this time to introduce yourself and share information about your child.
- Develop a Communication Strategy – Set up the best method to communicate with the teacher to share brief updates and information about your child’s progress.
- Demonstrate Capabilities – Bring in a portfolio of your child’s work from home to meetings with the school, to demonstrate your child’s overall strengths and weakness.
- Provide the Teacher with Resources – Create a folder of handouts, articles, written strategies, or website addresses that you believe will be useful to the education of your child.
- Help and Support the Teacher – Lend a helping hand in the classroom! Be prepared to support other children too, as this frees up more time for the teacher to work directly with your child.
- Prepare for the IEP Meeting – Be prepared for the IEP meeting by making sure you arrive on time and know what the goals of the meeting are. Write down questions and concerns you have, regardless of how certain you are that you will remember them.
- Provide Information and Evidence – Notify the school of any outside evaluations, medical information or support services that can help school personnel continue to provide a strong educational program.
- Offer Feedback – If needed, provide constructive feedback. Indicate what has worked best for your child and what hasn’t. Teachers reflect daily on their practice and make changes according to their students’ success.
Using as many tools, resources, personal experience and even gut instinct when communicating with your child’s special needs educator will make all the difference. The sooner a trust and bond can be established, the sooner your child will be able to reap all the benefits they deserve.
Have you tried using any of these communication strategies with your child’s teacher? We would love to know! Leave us a comment below and share this article with your friends and family!