5 Things Special Needs Parents Wish Teachers Knew
1) We want to work with you
We are here to help our children as much as you are. We might ask a lot of questions, but that is only because we are trying to understand how to support your teaching in the best way possible. We are trying to learn from you as much as they does. We know you are busy and you have other kids in your class, but we promise to accommodate. We want to know about their shortcomings as much as their achievements and we are really just here to help.
2) Be open to our suggestions
We have invested so much time, money and effort into finding out what works for our children. Let us show you what we have learnt from all the trial and error, therapy and personal experience. We are not trying to do your job, but just help you understand our children better. We are not only doing this because we love our children and want to see them improve, but also because we want to help you! We understand how challenging your job can be sometimes, and maybe our learnings in therapy or an article on the internet might just be helpful someday.
3) You are one of the most important people in their lives
A lot of people say that an involved parent can make a huge different in the life of a special needs child. Although completely true, a good teacher can change their lives. Our children spend the majority of their week with you, learn about the world from you and look up to you. Your patience, understanding and cooperation can set them up for their future. A great thing to remember during the times that it gets difficult!
4) Please don’t ‘take it easy’ on them
Being a child on the spectrum does not exclude them from facing similar challenges, hardships and processes in life. They have to learn how to accommodate and work hard from the get go. If they are given less work or are consistently given exceptions, they will get used to taking the easy way out. Repetition and consistency is the key to good habits and behaviour and we really want them to get better. As Ross Greene said “Kids do well if they can.” They want to do well. Challenge them!
5) Treat them like an individual, not by their diagnosis
As Dr Stephen Shore said, “If you’ve met one person with Autism, you’ve met one person with Autism”. Not everything that would work with one child with Autism would work with another. Please give them the time to tell you what helps them and be patient with them. There is a reason behind their behaviour and it is so crucial to understand it, if you want to change it. Going back to the second point, be open to different methods and techniques. Talk to his OT, speech therapist or his parent (me!) if you need more help or information.
What would you like your child's teacher to know? Leave us a comment and let us know!
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Author: Priya Gupta