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I have been asked by several parents “how can I help my special needs child with school success?” While the question may seem simple, the answer is a little more in depth. Check out these tips to make sure your child is successful no matter what school they attend.
1. Get to Know Your Child’s Teacher
Since some parents have been told different things, may not have been happy with a previous teacher, or feel like the teacher is not doing his/her best, they may be defensive towards their child’s special education teacher. But keep in my mind, special education teachers and other special education professionals are there to help you. So make sure that you introduce yourself, exchange contact information, and develop a good rapport with them. Additionally, continue to stay connected to them throughout the year. Remember, you are all working towards the same goals.
2. Get Involved
Make sure to get involved in your child’s classroom and in the school. You can do this by becoming a room parent, attending events at the school, and helping your child with their homework. Essentially, know what’s going on! I know it is difficult for parents sometimes with attending events because of time, but do as much as you can. You will learn more about the school, meet parents that you have things in common with, and most importantly you can spend more time with your child.
3. Understand Your Child’s IEP, Progress Reports, and Report Cards
This is a big tip! Take the time to understand your child’s IEP and progress reports. This is important because the goals and objectives listed in the IEP and progress report are what is driving instruction in the classroom. If you do not understand what your child’s goals are, then you have no idea what learning is taking place in the classroom. It is also important to understand how your child’s teacher calculates the data for reporting progress on progress reports and report cards, since every teacher and/or school does it differently. Once you understand the process, you will have a better understanding if your child’s teacher states that your child has mastered a goal or is not making progress towards a goal.
4. Go to All Conferences and IEP Meetings
Again, time is of the essence here. We are all busy and have a lot of time commitments, but make this a priority if you can! I have been at several conferences and IEP meetings, where the parents do not show up. These meetings are essential! You are part of your child’s educational team and you should be a part of any decisions that need to made. Also, if you do not have the time to participate in activities during the school year, this is your opportunity to get to know your child’s teacher and any other special education professionals that are working with them.
5. Know Your Resources
Nowadays, there are so many resources out there. From the internet to books to parent support groups, there is a wealth of knowledge around you. With that being said, if you do not know or understand something, ask or do your own research. Never believe everything you hear. If something does not seem right to you, then see about it for yourself. It does not hurt to get confirmation about something or utilize the resources available.
I hope these tips will benefit you and your child.
What other tips do you have for parents?