By Jan Baumel, M.S.
How do you work with all of the adults who interact with your child? What should you share with them? What can you expect from them?
To support your child in his efforts to learn, you'll need to work with school staff and other professionals, such as his pediatrician, tutor, or counselor. Since you know your child best, you have valuable insights and information to share. While you may not be familiar or comfortable with the school environment or a clinician's office, your participation is important. Together you can get a better understanding of your child's strengths, learning problems, the school process, the professional's contribution, and what you can do.
Collaborate with the adults who direct your child's activities outside of school, too. Explain his special needs to the coach, scout leader, or religious advisor to help them understand him better. If he's going to thrive on the sports field or in social groups, the leader may need to approach him differently to make sure he can succeed and build self-esteem.
You'll be the primary gatherer of information from all of the adults who interact with him. Remember to keep a notebook, file folder, or other method of storing data about your child so that it'll be at your fingertips when you need it.
Share what you know by staying in touch with these adults through notes back and forth, quick check-off forms, email, voice mail, or informal conversations.
Be sure to inform them of issues at home that could affect your child's learning, attention, or emotional well-being, such as:
In the spirit of collaboration, don't be afraid to ask the professionals to do these things:
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