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Help the teacher help your child

by Dr Samantha Hornery, Therapy and Education Manager.

As a parent it is entirely your decision as to how much or little information you divulge to your child’s teacher about the previous assessments and interventions you’ve undertaken with your child. We won’t go into the pros and cons for this at the moment – it takes trust to hand over all of this information and you’ll need to take the time you need to be ready for that. We’re going to jump into how to do this in a sensitive way that still helps you feel in control of the information you’re handing over.

Remember this: no-one knows your child better than you!

Now, use this to help bring your child’s teacher up to speed as quickly as possible to support your child in the best way they can.

A single or double page summary about your child for school is one of the best uses of all of the previous bits of paper you have about your child. It takes a bit of time to set up initially, but each year a quick update is all that’s needed.

 

Here are our tips to get you started:

1. At the top of the page include your child’s name and their photo

This is especially important in high school where there are so many students for a teacher to know – make it as easy as possible for them.

2. Write the top three difficulties or diagnoses that impact your child and what this impact looks like

For example, a receptive language delay may mean that information spoken in the classroom is not fully understood immediately by your child or attention issues could mean your child is present in the classroom but not able to fully focus on all of the information being given. Please don’t assume the title of a diagnosis is sufficient for a teacher, there are so many things for teachers to know and be familiar with – to avoid confusion, explain what the diagnosis means for your child.

3. List the current interventions your child is already having

Some of these may impact class time or time available after school for other work. If there are some areas you’re already taking care of, this will help your child’s teacher find the space they can have the most impact on.

4. Identify anything you’ve tried with previous teachers that have been really successful

For example, this could be where your child sat, your child taking photos of the board for review, or other adjustments that made a difference for them when it comes to completing tasks.

5. Identify what has really not worked for your child

Although time has passed, if there is to be another attempt at this it would be good to try this with the knowledge of the previous impacts. For example, this could be a homework club at lunchtime, or sitting at the front of the classroom (sometimes a double edged sword!).

6. List your contact details and good times for contact to open the door to a two-way conversation channel.

 

Download a simple template to create a summary of your child here.

 

Read more about establishing ongoing communication with your child’s teacher/s.