If your child with special needs has been mainstreamed or fully included in a general education classroom, it is important that you communicate openly and honestly with the teacher about your child’s needs.
While special education teachers and outside agencies will meet with your child’s classroom teacher to share information, these meetings can often be brief, delayed, or worse yet, cancelled until further notice.
Therefore, It is necessary for you to monitor the information that is shared between your child’s teacher(s) and the support personnel, and then fill in any gaps. Between you and your child’s school, here are the top ten things that the classroom teacher needs to know about your child’s special needs:
1. Special Needs/Learning Disabilities – what are your child’s special needs and/or learning disabilities? Provide information, tips and resources that are relevant to your child’s health and abilities.
2. Assistive Technology – what types of assistive technology is needed to teach and work with your child? What has been used at school and what is used at home?
3. History of School Support – What types of supports has your child received in the past? Has your child had a paraprofessional or ever been in a special education class? Has your child received outside support services such as speech and language classes or occupational therapy?
4. Parental Support – how do you support your child at home? Do you help with homework, provide a fidget toy or play music in the background? Do you like to accompany your child on field trips or are you able to volunteer in the classroom?
5. Social Skills – are there any concerns you have with your child’s social skills? Does your child interact with others successfully outside of school? Are there any areas that need extra support?
6. Friends – who are your child’s friends both in school and out?
7. Academic Strengths – What are your child’s academic interests? Is there a favorite subject or special interest?
8. Areas for Improvement – What are areas your child has for academic improvement? Even though an IEP will be written and put in place, this is your chance to add any extra insight.
9. Extracurricular Activities – what activities, clubs and/or organizations does your child participate in outside of school?
10. Personal Concerns – does your child need help with organization and planning? Is there a time of the day that your child works at his or her best? Is there an area of the playground that he or she loves to be at? Do you need more resources or advice on ways to help at home? Don’t forget to add any extra tidbit - it could potentially make all the difference in your child’s day!
Nicole Eredics is an elementary teacher who has spent over 15 years teaching in inclusive classrooms. She is also a parent, advocate and frequent blogger. Nicole currently co-hosts The Inclusive Class Podcast , with Terri Mauro on Fridays at 9 AM EST. In addition, she has developed and discovered many valuable resources for parents, teachers and schools that she shares on Twitter at @Inclusive_Class and on Facebook at The Inclusive Class. More information about inclusive education can be found at www.theinclusiveclass.com.