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You’re the expert on your child and their diagnosis, so at the start of the year, make sure to share as much as you can with your child’s teacher. What works best for your child? What doesn’t work? Is there anything that’s worked well for them in ABA therapy that the teacher can use in class? What are they interested in? Helping the teacher get up to speed will help them get to know your child better, which in turn, will set your child up for increased success. This is also a great way to start your parent-teacher relationship on a positive note!
Supporting children with autism requires more constant communication than the bi-annual parent-teacher conference. Talk with your child’s teacher about communication options that work for both of your schedules. Many families have found success with a communication book that’s passed back and forth between home and school each day. Others have found success with a quick, 5-10 minute phone call or in-person conversation at the end of the day. Whatever you decide, be mindful of time constraints and be realistic about your expectations. Your child’s teacher will not have time to write down everything that happened during the school day, so focus on a few items you’d like to be aware of.
A communication book is great for regular updates, but if you have concerns or think there is an area of difficulty that needs to be addressed, call the teacher or request a face-to-face meeting. Writing doesn’t communicate your tone or intentions as well as speaking, so what you write can be misinterpreted.
If you don’t already have one, ask the teacher for a daily or weekly schedule. Knowing what subjects your child had each day can help you better understand their behavior. Do they have excellent behavior on the days they go to the gym? Do they struggle on the days they have music? Noticing these patterns and communicating them to your child’s teacher can help you strategize ways to better support your child at school and at home.
Having your child’s schedule is also a good way to start communicating with your child about their day, especially if they are non-verbal. For example, if you know they had art that day, you can have them show you their artwork or draw a picture of what they completed in class.
Under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA), your child is entitled to receive the services necessary to access education. These services will be discussed during your child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meeting. Before you head to this meeting, brush up on IEPs, read over your child’s previous IEP, and be prepared to discuss their progress since the last school year.
Want to know more about how to position your child for success in school? Contact us to find out about how ABA therapy and other Autism services can help your child reach their full potential.