As children are heading back to school across Ohio, I always remind parents the first step is setting up your communication plan! There are times it is outlined in the IEP, but if not, please reach out to your team to find out the best way to communicate with them.
Check out my 5 tips for improving communication here, and download your copy of my communication log for personal use HERE. I suggest a 3 prong folder or composition notebook if you want to have a physical notebook traveling back and forth.
5 Easy Ways to Improve Communication:
- Make sure you discuss with your child’s intervention specialist and teacher the best way to communicate with you, and the frequency that works for your team. There are some circumstances where daily communication is necessary when that’s the case make it as simple as possible! We all know the information is important but understand that a teacher’s day is jam-packed with teaching ( duh!) so have reasonable expectations!
- Have a clear understanding of what the team needs from you! Are they waiting on forms or questionnaires from you? Turn materials back in quickly so everyone has everything needed to start the year out on the right foot. Double-check contact information, and communicate the preferred email and phone number for emergency situations.
- Celebrate all of those special moments together, when your child reaches a milestone, or masters a task, take time to celebrate how hard everyone worked to get your child to that point. Remember that old saying, you catch more flies with honey? When you acknowledge the effort and praise the hard work, it shows the team that you are supportive and committed to positive growth.
- Be an active listener on your team. So often we get caught up in trying to communicate every minute detail that we aren’t listening to the team that interacts with our child 6 hours a day. Give the team time to talk without interruption and judgment, stay focused on this specific conversation and limit your questions until you have heard all that they have to say.
- And finally, special education parents often have some of the most confrontational meetings in the building. Take a deep breath and remember that even past complications and mistakes can be repaired. That being said, it’s important to communicate where you are in that process because it truly is a process building back the trust that it takes to hand over potentially vulnerable children each day.
As always, I am here to help and please contact me for any complications that might arise as you begin another year!