Special education is a challenging dynamic for parents to understand, especially when new to the process of education and academic success for a child with special needs. If you are a parent who has recently been introduced to the special education program in your child’s school, it is important to become familiar with the program, and to determine ways in which you can effectively communicate with your child’s teacher to ensure academic success.
While meeting with your child’s special education teacher is often recommended, there may be time constraints that do not allow frequent meetings between either party. If time is of an issue for you or your child’s teacher, you will want to consider other creative ways to communicate with the special education educator to ensure your child is given the best possible opportunity for success – such communications may include evening phone calls, using a homework agenda, and using a message notebook.
Parent-teacher conference calls in the evening are becoming increasingly more common especially as technology advances. Along these same lines, many teachers and parents are also incorporating a line of communication by email as a way to effectively communicate about a special needs child’s academic performance and classroom behavior. Beyond these simple communications, there are homework agendas and message notebooks that your child can carry to and from school – opening the way for even more communication between the two parties.
A homework agenda can be created using a simple day planner that provides a tracking of all assignments due, assignments completed and scheduled tests to be taken. By providing a homework agenda to your child, you are teaching them, to some extent, how to take responsibility for their own time management and giving them the independence to schedule their homework assignments. But, in addition to this, it will also create a path by which you, as a parent, can track your child’s completion of work by allowing the teacher to ensure the homework is duly noted in the child’s agenda each day.
Special education requires special attention by parents and, oftentimes, the latest technology can provide great avenues for communication. To ensure, however, that your special needs child is incorporated into the experience, and able to show their maturity, independence, and work on time management skills, be sure to consider the homework agenda or message notebook as a way to also communicate with the special education teachers who are educating your child daily.
Sources: A Parent’s Guide to Special Education, by Linda Wilmshurst, Ph.D., pp. 111-115.