Forming a Collaborative Relationship with Your Child’s School

27 May

Your child’s needs are not being met.  There is after-school melt downs and homework brawls.  You’ve written nice notes or made a friendly phone call to the teacher, but nothing is improving.  You are at your wit’s end, so you fire off an email blasting the teacher with all of your frustration, resulting in a phone call from the equally frustrated teacher. With all the emotions, stress, and worry of parenting a child with learning issues, it isn’t always easy to keep a positive relationship with your child’s school.  It is very easy to let emotions get the best of you and quickly communication breaks down.  However, being able to work cooperatively with your child’s school will always benefit your child.

If your child has not yet qualified for special education services, it is quite possible that your child’s teacher is struggling with many of the same issues you are at home, and she has 24 other students’ needs to meet.  Teachers must follow school policy when it comes to referrals for students, and that process can take some time.  Your child’s teacher is probably working hard to meet your child’s needs, but she  able to completely.  It is really important to sit down with your child’s teacher and talk about the frustrations that you have, as the parent, and let her talk about what she is seeing in the classroom.  You will get information from the teacher that will help you be able to advocate for your child.  Most likely, the teacher wants your child to receive as much help as possible, but she is in a tough position working for the system that may not want to give the services.  The administrators are the people that are responsible for keeping the district within their spending budget.  They will put pressure on teachers and principals to keep special ed. numbers down.  However, your child’s teacher has a vested interest in getting your child the services they need.  They do not want to have to struggle to meet your child’s needs, while there is a special educator there to give that support.  It makes their job extremely difficult.   Most teachers will give you the information you need to help your child, you  need to be willing to sit down and listen to them.  Be ready to hear what she is saying, because she is probably going to say things in a way that will not “incriminate” her with the sped department, but will help you in your attempt to get your child the help they need.  Remember that most teachers are in their profession because they want to help children, they aren’t hoarding special education services.

Before you fire off that email or make that call, remember that you could be alienating the one person on the inside that can help you get what you want for your child.

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