It can be easy to tell yourself that once your child is in school for the day, the teachers will take care of everything that needs to be done, and you will not have to worry about anything. However, even though you are transferring much of the care and education of your child over to public or possibly private school teachers, you still hold ultimate responsibility for your child’s welfare. With some careful consideration and gentle suggestions, you can help empower your child’s teachers so that you and the teachers can work together for your child’s greater good.
- First, you must establish good communication with teachers and other school therapists. Communication is crucial in any relationship, but it is especially important when your child has difficulty communicating for himself. Find times to connect with teachers throughout the year. Be sure to attend parent/teacher meetings when scheduled. You may also want to start an easy communication sheet or checklist that goes to and from school each day.
- Second, you can give teachers tools and tips that have proven to be quite helpful for your child in the past. After living with your child for several years, you know what works best for him, what irritates him and what items are particularly calming to him. Communicate this to teachers, and send helpful sensory toys, clothing, or writing instruments to school with your child.
- Third, you should be aware of what your child can expect in this new school year so that you can prepare him ahead of time and discuss any potential concerns with the teachers. Help your child get ready for each school day with a simple, stress-free routine. Find out about extracurricular options or special education accommodations that could make school less threatening to your child. By discussing these possibilities with the teacher, you will together be able to create great goals for this year’s IEP.
Although special needs children often struggle with certain parts of school, the educational experience should be an overall positive one. The overwhelming majority of special education teachers are on your side, ready and willing to help your child learn and grow mentally and socially to the best of his ability. By empowering these teachers with adequate communication regarding your child, you can help to make this school year the best possible experience for everyone.