Getting to Know Teachers and Specialists for Children With Special Needs

It is important to communicate regularly with your child's teachers from kindergarten through high school, especially if you are the parent of a child with special needs. Having a good working relationship with the people who work with your child helps make sure that education is a team effort between home and school. It is never too early in the school year to start building a good relationship with your child's teacher and the other professionals who work with your child.

  • Attend back-to-school-night events whenever possible. These are usually held at the beginning of the school year. They are a good way to get to know your child's teachers, including special education teachers.
  • Introduce yourself to the teacher. If you can't make contact in person, write a note or send an email asking how the teacher prefers to be contacted and what the best time of day is to get in contact. This will set a positive tone for future communications and will make getting in touch easier.
  • Schedule an Individual Education Plan (IEP) meeting as soon as possible. If you have just moved to a new school, the new school is required to provide services comparable to those your child received at the previous school until the current IEP is adopted or a new one is in place. The IEP meeting will help make sure that your child receives services and will give you the opportunity to meet the specialists who will be working with your child.
  • Encourage communication between your child's teachers and other related service providers.
  • Keep your child's teachers and service providers updated on changes at home. Deployments and other separations may affect your child's behavior and class work.
  • Set up a communication log with your child's teacher. Provide a notebook or use the school agenda book to establish ongoing conversations. Ask questions about class work and areas your child did particularly well in that day or week. Keep in mind that communication logs can sometimes become a negative reflection of your child at school. Keep it positive. Ask the teacher to call you with any concerns.


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