What can I do?
As a parent of a child with special needs, you will have to make a variety of decisions throughout your child’s education. The issues that may affect your child are as many and diverse as there are children.
Research tells us that both parents and teachers feel ongoing communication is vital to the success of a child’s education. While no one would question the need for parent involvement, almost everyone would have a different definition of the nature of this involvement. Clearly, a strong parent-teacher relationship needs trust, mutual respect, open communication, active listening, flexibility, and shared responsibility.
During your child’s years in school, issues may arise regarding your child’s education or programming plan, learning needs or styles, assessment, learning supports, school attendance, social or behavioural expectations, and so on. Whether you are planning to meet with your child’s classroom teacher, the school team, or others working with your child, it is important to prepare for the meeting. The following questions are examples of what you may wish to ask when discussing your child’s progress or other issues of concern.
Questions to Ask
- Is my child working at or meeting the grade level outcomes? If not, why not? What would be the best way to proceed?
- Is my child meeting the outcomes outlined in his or her individual education plan (IEP)? If not, why not? What would support my child’s learning?
- What do the scores or marks mean?
- Is my child receiving adaptations or modifications to his or her work?
- Does my child have major strengths or weaknesses in specific subject areas that I don’t know about?
- How would you describe my child’s learning style?
- What supports does my child need to learn? What strategies have worked well for my child?
- Is it necessary for my child to go out of the classroom for resource help for periods of time? Why?
- Has my child completed class assignments?
- Has my child been attending classes regularly?
- Are there any potential social issues with peers that I need to be aware of?
- Does my child need a referral to the school resource teacher, speech language pathologist, psychologist, reading clinician, or guidance counselor? What would be involved with the referral and how would that affect my child’s programming?
- What is the educational assistant’s role with my child? How do I communicate with the educational assistant?
- What can I/we do at home to support my/our child’s learning?