Often, parenting a child on the autism spectrum can feel isolating. Your child’s attributes are often thrilling, awe-inspiring, and rewarding, but the unique challenges they can present may not always be understood. That’s why it’s so important to find therapists to connect with and, when your child enters school, forming a positive relationship with your child’s teacher can be just as beneficial.
We know the impact teachers have on their students. More than that, the communication between students and parents is known to have a significant impact on student success.
As the school year begins, consider these tips to effectively communicate with your child’s teacher and start the year off on the right foot.
Meet the Teacher As Soon As Possible
If you haven’t already, try to set up an in-person appointment, or even a phone conference, with your child’s teacher. Set the relationship up early so if potential problems come up, you already are in regular communication with the teacher.
When you meet with the teacher, let them know what behaviors to expect, strategies that are effective at home, and any triggers you know. That way, the teacher knows how to set up the environment to make it conducive for your child and, when problems arise, is better equipped to handle them.
In addition, share all of the positive attributes your child brings into the classroom. If they love to help, the teacher might give them a classroom job as a way to get more involved. If they have a passion for art projects, the teacher can help them find opportunities to create.
Forming this bond early on will ensure you are on the same team and act as partners from the get-go.
Ask the Teacher Which Communication Method They Prefer
Every teacher has their own way they prefer to communicate with parents. Some like to send a notebook back and forth, others prefer phone calls, while others are more comfortable with email or using a classroom app. When you meet with the teacher, ask how they would like to communicate. This will ensure they are comfortable with the communication style and you receive regular responses and information.
Don't Hesitate to Ask for More Information
You might often find yourself wishing you were a fly on the wall in your child’s classroom, especially on days that are more challenging. For children on the autism spectrum especially, receiving an explanation of the day’s events is a difficult pursuit.
Once a relationship with the teacher has been established, don’t hesitate to ask for more information regarding any incidents that occur. Maybe there was a trigger the teacher was not aware of that can reveal a more underlying problem. Maybe there’s a more effective way challenges could be remedied. Instead of worrying if you are taking too much of the teacher’s time, remind yourself that receiving more specific information will help the teacher, your child, and you moving forward.
Establish a Partnership with the Teacher
When the parent and teacher are able to identify a problem and, together, determine a solution, the result is more success for the child and more satisfaction overall.
Early on, tell your child’s teacher you want to work with them to meet the needs of your child. Ask for how you can help at home, and tell them things they should be aware of at school.
If there have been challenging circumstances in the home, a significant change in routine, or a change in medication, let the teacher know so they are better prepared.
Offer any pertinent information about your child on the autism spectrum as well. Tell them what early signs of your child becoming overstimulated looks like, for instance, and what helps in that situation.
As you’ve likely already experienced, you will encounter times when the unique needs of your child are misunderstood or are something the teacher has not dealt with in the past. As you will need to give regular updates to the teacher, and vice versa, regular and effective communication is key to a smooth year.
Reach out today and speak with one of our enrollment specialists to get started with Springtide