Navigate Life Texas: Resources for kids with disabilities and special needs

Navigate Life Texas: Resources for kids with disabilities and special needs

Getting Ready for the New School Year – Informing a New Teacher

As the end of the school year approaches, we must think about preparing for the next exciting school year. This may include new teachers for our child. Here are some ideas that you can use to engage and inform your child’s new teacher. 

  1. Call the school and find out when the teachers are back from summer vacation. They usually start a week before the students start.
  2. Make an appointment with them before the student’s start. If it is middle school or high school, there will be several teachers. Ask if you can meet with all of them together.
  3. Bring your child’s IEP and any other pertinent information like medical needs, behavioral needs, social needs, and successes. 
  4. Make a list of things that your child enjoys doing or what he responds well to. Some examples are: a visual schedule; breaks between work; being able to help in the classroom.
  5. Make a list of things that your child struggles with. This may be unexpected changes in the schedule, substitute teachers, fire drills, and so forth. What we need to provide is suggestions on how we can manage these things in a proactive way. Unfortunately, all the things mentioned will occur at some point during the school year. We cannot avoid them. The key point here is that we are prepared when they occur to avoid negative behavior from our child.
  6. Make yourself available to the teachers. This could be through email, text, or written communication. Tell the teacher that you are there to support both them and your child. Explain the importance of having open communication. This is an effort to be proactive rather than reactive.
  7. If your child has social skill deficits, make sure that the teacher is aware of this. Teachers often focus on the student’s academic skills and fail to address their social needs. Socialization is a huge part of a student’s success in school.
  8. Another important point is that you highlight your child’s strengths. IEP’s are very good at highlighting the child’s weaknesses. It is up to us to highlight their strengths.

I am sure that teachers will like to receive this information before they start working with your child. Teachers have access to your child’s IEP, but many times the IEP does not provide all the information that is important for the teacher to know.

The more prepared the teachers are, the more likely it is that the child will have a successful school year. The Education and Schools section of this site offers a wealth of information and ideas.

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