September 3, 2015

We all know the influence a teacher has in your child’s life. And since you two are on the same team in trying to ensure your child is successful in school, it’s important to know how to effectively communicate with your child’s teacher. Here are some ideas you can use to ensure you do that that are particularly important if your child is integrating into a mainstream education.  While it is important to help the teacher understand the special triggers that your child may have, it is also important to get off on the right foot.

* As soon as you can, make an appointment to meet with your child’s teacher. If you can do that before the school year begins and there’s no pressure on either of you, it might be the best choice. However, that’s not always possible. By starting your relationship off early, there won’t be problems right off the bat. Then, later in the year, if your child does have problems, you’ll already have effective communication established with your child’s teacher. Don’t wait until there is an issue before you meet your child’s teacher.

* Let the teacher know you want to be considered a partner in your child’s education. Ask them what you can do to help them understand your child’s challenges. You may be surprised at their requests.

* Find out when your child’s teacher has a break during the day. If you have an opportunity, stop by the school to see if there’s something you can do to help them. You can also become involved in the parent-teacher organization or volunteer to help in your child’s classroom.

* Many teachers, especially of younger children, send a notebook or some other type of communication home with your child at the end of the week. Be sure to take the time to look through your child’s backpack or notebook for any notes they may send. Then, once you’ve read them, you can either send a note in response or simply initial it so they know you have read it. If your child with autism is a little older, you might want to ask the teacher to use a communication book anyway to help ensure that the homework and messages are being seen from both tens.

* At some point you will probably notice an issue related to your child’s autism that teacher may not recognize or understand. This could be related to added stresses your child with autism is experiencing at school. It could be bullying. Send a note to your child’s teacher or call them to bring them up to speed on the situation. Your child may begin to show out or cause disruptions in class and this knowledge will help the teacher understand why.

* Follow through with any agreements you’ve made. If you say you’re going to something, be sure to follow through. Of course, there may be circumstances where you won’t be able to, but you’ll want to let the teacher know what’s going on.

You are your child with autisms best advocate. Remember the importance of knowing when to communicate and how often to communicate with your child’s teacher. It is a fine balancing act of acting promptly but not seen as overbearing. Learning how to effectively communicate with your child’s teacher can make all the difference in your child’s educational success.

teach the way they learn

About the author 

Janet Meydam

Janet Meydam holds a B.S. degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and an M.S. degree in Occupational Therapy from Mount Mary College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She has worked in healthcare and education settings for 25 years and writes extensively about people who have disabilities.

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