Preparing for Parent-Teacher Conferences
For many parents of children with special needs, it is important for their child to feel safe and comfortable in any situation. Unfortunately, learning disabilities, autism, and other special needs can make simple tasks like going to school seem monumentally difficult. Fortunately, finding a great school for children with learning disabilities is easier than it sounds. The most important thing is being able to advocate for your child no matter where they receive their education.
When meeting with the teachers who will be working with special needs students, it is important to establish your goals for your child. You may want to write them down before the meeting begins. Rank the goals in order of importance, taking note of which ones you are willing to negotiate. Be willing to compromise. Funding, state requirements, and other limitations may make it impossible for the special education program to exceed all your expectations.
Focus on your child’s needs. Teaching special needs students is a demanding job, and teachers may focus on the bigger picture of the classroom as a whole as that is what they do every day. Try to focus on your child, and resist the urge to advocate for the entire class. Their parents will have an opportunity to voice their concerns, so don’t feel selfish about using your time to discuss your child’s individual needs.
Lastly, when going into a school for children with learning disabilities, try to avoid going on the defensive. Assume everyone in the meeting is there to help your child succeed, because they are! Special education programs for kids are designed to help each child reach their educational goals, and it is your job as a parent to support your child on the way. While you may not always agree with what the teachers have to say, remember that it is not a personal attack, just something they have observed while interacting with your child.
By keeping your cool and remaining positive, you will be well on your way to a great relationship with your child’s teachers and other educational professionals, which will help your child’s educational success.