For this week’s ‘5 Things’ post, I welcome Christina Keeble from Special Education Mum. Christina is a special education teacher, a mum of two autistic children and has recently found out she is on the autism spectrum herself.
She has experience on all sides of the fence, as a parent and as a teacher and as an autistic individual. With such valuable experience, I’m excited to share her wisdom with you today, on working together with schools.
5 Tips for Parents When Working Together with School
Remember you are the expert on your child.
No one knows your child the way you do. You are a professional parent. Some parents can feel intimidated in a school environment or speaking with teachers, principals and therapists. While they all have valuable knowledge, training and experience only YOU are the expert on your child. Make sure your voice is heard.
Get started early
Get in touch with the school early to start planning for the following year. You should do this from the end of the previous year, say mid-term 3 – early term 4. Give them written information on your child to help them in the planning process.
You’ll find a link below to a dedicated “getting to know you” form – this is a template you can follow to help you put together this information for the school.
Don’t be afraid to speak up
Be prepared to advocate and to help the school understand your child. If needed, take an advocate in with you (there are various advocate organisations you can access in each state). You can also take in a friend or family member, so you don’t feel outnumbered or outgunned.
You can find an advocacy organisation in your state through the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations – http://www.afdo.org.au/5543.aspx
You are all on the same team
Remember you, the teacher and the school are on the same team, your child’s team. Teachers and principals are human too and are prone to make mistakes and can benefit from learning. Respect, patience, understanding, active listening and effective communication are key to working through misunderstandings or differences.
Your child should have input too
Include your child in the decision-making process from the start. They should have a say in their strengths, challenges and needs. This allows them to learn to self-advocate in the future. Their voice matters too and should never be forgotten.
If you’re after more information on more effectively working together with school, check out these posts:
Christina Keeble is an autistic mother of 2 beautiful autistic kids. She’s also a University lecturer and a fully registered special education teacher with the Victorian Institute of Teaching. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with Honours, a DipEd in Primary Teaching, a Masters in Special Education, and a passion for working in the special educational field.
Through Special Education Mum, Christina shares her experience as both a special needs parent and special education teacher, to increase understanding and improve outcomes for students. She wants to share her experiences, combine them with her knowledge and work together to build the bridge between the neuro-typical and neuro-diverse world.
You can follow Special Education Mum on these platforms:
This post is part of our new series “5 Things Special Needs Parents Should Know”. If you’d like to submit a guest post, or if you have a topic you’d like covered as part of this weekly series, send your idea to firstname.lastname@example.org