Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Preparing Your Teacher

A new school year can be challenging for kids and parents/carers alike, regardless of the individual's abilities or diagnosis. Throw a little something extra into the mix and it can be downright scary, for the teacher as well.

In a perfect world, you will have already met with your child's new teacher, identified areas of concern and developed a management or Individual Education Plan (IEP). Even then however, not all aspects of your child’s needs may have been discussed.

So how do you make the world a little more perfect, your child’s transition a lot smoother and ease your own anxiety and worry in the process? Preparation, and communication is the key to success.

No one knows your child like you do so don’t be afraid to share your expertise.
The information you share will depend on the age of the child and their prior education experiences but some details remain the same regardless of such things.

Sadly, diagnosis and health concerns are first and foremost. Whilst labels can be harsh, confronting and sometimes limiting, with a diagnosis often comes extra support and funding, which can only help your child to excel.

You will no doubt have identified strengths and weaknesses and sharing these is extremely helpful. Allowing your child to shine and develop confidence in a particular area will assist them in getting comfortable in their surroundings and developing a sense of fitting in, so let the teacher know how they might facilitate an opportunity for your special person to shine. The same with weaknesses, if you can prevent a meltdown, difficult situation or embarrassing event just by sharing one simple trigger or challenging area, then do everyone a favour and speak up.

Does your child have a special talent or area of expertise? If they are on the autism spectrum this is not uncommon and can be a useful tool in engaging the child in learning they might otherwise avoid or struggle with. Hates numbers but loves trains? Maybe counting trains could be a useful strategy. A creative and enthusiastic teacher will be happy to hear your suggestions and will benefit from knowing what traits they might use to bring out the best in your child.

You know your child best. And you know how to share the information about your child in the best way possible, so work out a format or checklist that suits your needs. 

Don’t be afraid to write a letter to the teacher, sharing the tips, tricks, triggers and talents of your special little one. Like you, your child’s teacher wants them to do their very best and get the most out of their learning experience in the classroom. 

Give your child’s teacher a helping hand and tell them everything you know so they get a leg up and don’t learn the hard way. You did that already.  

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