A Starting School Survival Guide for Parents of Children With Disabilities by Lee Lee as originally seen on The Huffington Post Blog
The above blog post has 6 great ideas when it comes to entering school with a child that has disabilities. However there is a thread that runs through all 6: communication with all the people that are involved in your child’s education. I think that is a fantastic take-home message for everyone, not just parents with disabled children. I haven’t worked in the school system before, so #4 surprised me. You mean some children’s parents would not allow me as their child’s therapist to speak with their teacher about the child and how to maximize their education in the classroom? Communication between all the educators is ESSENTIAL to make the best educational experience possible for any child, and so much more for a child with difficulties in the school setting. The parents’ communication with all the educators is very important too. We’re pretty good, but we are NOT mind readers. If something is not going as planned or as smoothly as you thought, open your mouth (as my choir teacher used to say.) Only when the issue is brought to light can something be done about it.
I also really liked the idea of the parent asking when/how is a good way to communicate with the educators. Although we highly value you and your opinion as a parent/expert on your child, our main focus is your and other parents’ children. We would love to hear your voice, but not when we are involved with the kids. We can’t give the kids our all when our attention is divided. So yes, please ask when/how would be the best communication with us. That way your kid can get our full attention and then you can have our full attention too. I wish I could get my adult patients to understand this too. “Yes, I would love to answer your 15,000 very in-depth questions. (I am an adult educator, too!) But I have 4 other patients waiting for their treatment, so I can’t answer those right now.” Ok, maybe I over exaggerate with 15,000, but sometimes it feels that way.
I would love to have some others chime in here: teachers, administrators, parents, other therapists. What are your communication strategies in the school system?