Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Creating a Supportive Team at School

I am a firm believer that parents need to be apart of the process in regards to creating a supportive team at school. When I say the word "team," I mean a group of individuals that consist of administrators such as the principal and special education director, the child's general education teacher, the child's special education teacher or teachers, and any providers of a related service such as speech or occupational therapy.

Before my son ever attended school (the spring before he attended kindergarten) I set up a meeting with the principal, the district special education director, and the school's special education teacher. I did this so that the school's team could become better acquainted of who my child is and what I thought that he needed to be successful. I brought a binder that consisted of his current IEP and past IEPS, his evaluations, his progress reports from private therapy, and all of his medical reports that were related to his diagnosis. This paperwork allowed me to better advocate for my son. I was able to explain what I felt that my son would need in order to be successful in kindergarten. This initial meeting allowed me to also set the precedence in regards to what I expected in regards to my son's education.

It hasn't always been easy, and I would be lying if I said that I haven't had to put up a fight from time to time, but today we are one year in and my son is thriving. I have a great relationship with the building principal who I believe has always gone above and beyond to honor my requests. She now knows my son and she has done a great job of building a strong team to help serve him.

This year, I am beyond amazed at how well the team is working together. My son's general education teacher emails me on a weekly basis to give me updates in regards to how my child is doing. My son's special education teacher emails me his daily progress report along with a short note in regards to how his day went. Both teachers are in constant communication so that I know how he is doing. This last week they went above in beyond in regards to how they accommodated my son. Every fall, placement tests are given to place a child into a specific reading or math group. My son placed into the middle group based upon his test score. My son struggles with tests and I really felt that it would be in his best interest to be placed into the highest reading group. My son began showing signs of challenging behavior during this time. I ended up addressing my concerns with both his special education teacher and his general education teacher. They took my concerns to the 1st grade team and they both went to work and advocated for my son. The team agreed to switch his placement and there haven't been any behavioral concerns since. This is just one example of why it is so important to be involved with your child's school.

I also want to add that it's important to be involved within the team, but in order to set up a strong cohesive team you need to be amicable. Fight battles that are important and don't make minor problems out to be bigger deals than they truly are. I always start each year by bringing flowers  to my son's teacher just so that she knows how much I appreciate her. I also express just how thankful I am through emails when my son's team goes above and beyond. Teachers work hard, I know this, because I worked as a special education teacher and most of my days were at least a 12 hour day. I hope that you have found this information useful. Creating a team will certainly help your child be more successful in the long run!

1 comment:

  1. Kudos for you. I hope you go forward with your plans. My son was diagnosed with Aspergers at 3 yrs. old. At first, I was on my own; however, I learned that my friend's son has Aspergers and we became each others support parent. I later learned to help my son through resources I found through the Internet. Parents can learn from each other and share helpful tips or resources.