Well it has been at least a couple of weeks since most of us have started school. So much work has gone into the “getting ready” for the year that sometimes the work that is required in the next step of the school year often gets under looked.

And it is called 

evaluating:

Evaluating how the teacher understands your child.

Evaluating how your child feels with the teacher.

Evaluating how the teacher understands your child’s diagnosis.

This evaluating is now the next “full time job”, but is better to begin this job sooner than later. Because if you can get a feel early on for how things are going you will be so much better off in the long run.

I totally get that the initial few days of school are so crazy with new schedules, new teachers and new routines, but once the “new” wears off, you can start to see how the year will take shape.

I know there have been many times with Elizabeth, in her early years, when I could see the first few days were fine, but then I could start to notice things were not quite what I thought they would be. Maybe she was in the intervention room a bit more than I wanted. Or maybe the teacher would write to me that she thought her sensory issues would “be better by now” or Elizabeth was told that she should be “okay by now.” Or that “I don’t know why she just sits around in gym class” Yes, actual words!

Sometimes it took me talking to the teacher about Sensory Processing Disorder ( SPD ) to help them understand what Elizabeth was feeling. And for them to understand just what SPD is and just what it affects each day. Or sometimes it took switching around her schedule a bit. And other times it took my going into the school often to help things be the best that they could be for Elizabeth.

 

But it takes the first honest step of evaluating to really make this happen.

It is funny, in an ironic way, that most educators will have a recognition of what the disorder is while not really understanding its effects on everyday life. I would be the one to help them understand how it affects Elizabeth.

This is the kind of advocacy that makes such a difference in your child’s life.

It is not that the educators do not want to know about the disorder, because I have found that they are so very interested in learning more, it is that they are not typically offered such information. And/or they are not given a plan or help working with a child who has this disorder or special needs. 

So they have always been appreciative of the information I have given them.

So please know that having this tougher conversation about your child will benefit both your child and the educators.

I think for me, I have learned that it is far better to insert yourself into the school early on in the year, to really see how things are going, than it is to wait until a letter comes home, or a phone call is received, that tells you how your child is struggling with “this or that.

I can remember so many times, I would simply hope that all would be well in school for Elizabeth. Only to find out that she was struggling in a class or on recess.

So, I offer to you, the thought that it is getting near to the time when a check in is in order. Either a letter, an email or a phone call. The choice of form is yours but in my opinion, the time is good to do it.

The thing is, if the check in is done in the correct fashion, it can foster a sense of teamwork and unity to help your child. As opposed to the “us vs. them” kind of feeling.

I have often felt that when approached with an attitude of teamwork, good does come.

So why not reach out to them early to help your special needs child have the best laid ground early on?

So as much as you can breathe a sigh of relief that your “back to school” check list is done, you can now decide how to evaluate how the first few weeks are going. And act efficiently, and quickly if you or your child are not okay with how the days are going.

Trust me, and I have done the leg work here, the earlier you establish a good working relationship with your child’s teachers the better it is for your child.

I, myself, just drafted an age appropriate daily report for Elizabeth for use this very year.

It really is all about doing what your child needs, when they need it and having it reflect their needs at this time.

I wish you all a good week, the strength to enter the school and success with those who are working with your child.

Michele

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