10 Things You Want Your Kid’s Special Education Teacher To Know
This is a post in the weekly Autism Hopes series by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez, a mom who blogs over at AutismWonderland.
In less than four weeks, on September 9th, New York City kids will return to school. My son Norrin will be one of them. Which seems unreal because since his school has an extended school year, his summer vacation just started. (This week is actually his first week off from school.) Norrin’s school is also ungraded. But if it weren’t, he’d be starting the 2nd grade. This also seems unreal…
I feel lucky that he’ll have the same teacher as last year. But in previous years, whenever Norrin started a new school year, I would send in a note with key information about him. In my experience teachers appreciated the gesture. (There was only one that didn’t. And man, oh man, was that a sign of how our school year would play out!)
On the first day of school, these are 10 things your kid’s teacher should know:
Backstory. Doesn’t need to be extensive. Just a few lines on when they were diagnosed and a list of past services or therapies.
Progress made over the last year. Has your child made great strides over the last year? What improvement have you seen? Let the teacher know what your kid is capable of and that they have significant potential.
Strengths. Brag a little. Is your kid a whiz at the iPad or a super speller? Your child’s teacher will want to focus on their strengths right away.
Weaknesses. Maybe your kid is a great speller but has difficulty with hand writing. You want balance in your letter. And honesty is important.
Enjoyed Activities. What does your child like to do in his/her spare time? Will they pick up a book or go for building blocks?
Activities that are frustrating. What is particularly difficult for your child? What will cause your child to have a complete melt down or shut down? If your child is non-verbal – what will child do when frustrated?
Motivators. In order to work through a frustrating activity, your kid will need some motivation. And your kid’s teacher will want to know what motivates them as soon as possible.
Self-stimulating behaviors. Norrin has quite a few self-stimulating behaviors. One of them is pressing a hand (either his or someone else’s) against his cheek while his mouth his open. When Norrin started kindergarten, I wanted his teacher to know about this behavior right away since some people think he’s going to bite. Norrin isn’t a biter, he just does this for the sensory input. Educating a new teacher about your child’s self-stimulating behaviors is something they absolutely need to know on the first day. They will want to know what triggers it and how they can best redirect your child.
Goals. Aside from the IEP goals, what goals would you like to see your child achieve. Be open and realistic about your expectations.
Contact Information. Provide all of your information – include all phone numbers and emails. Also note the times when you can be reached at each number.
The first few weeks of school are always challenging for our kids, you want them to be successful. Never forget that you are a critical member of the IEP team. And you are the expert when it comes to your kid. So don’t be shy about sharing your knowledge with a new teacher.Add a Comment
Tags: autism, Autism Hopes, Disability, education, health, Learning disability, Lisa Quinones Fontanez, raising kids with special needs, special education, Special needs | Categories: Autism, Children With Special Needs, Disability, Must Read, SPD, Special Needs, To The Max