My son, Michael had studied for the test.

He studied for the quiz the week prior.

I know this because together we reviewed the entire study guide multiple times.

But his grades on them were not what we had hoped for.

This was a consistent theme for the school grading period that year.

I had my hands on the keyboard a few times, ready to send an email asking questions about the class, his participation etc…

I actually did not do this but I wrote down my concerns, organized the papers I needed to ask her about, noted Michael’s feelings on them as well as how long we studied for each one and made sure to schedule a time during CONFERENCE NIGHT

Ahh, the two words that translate to COMMUNICATION NIGHT….for me at least.

This night is revered as it is THE night to meet face to face and really get to ask questions of the educator your child has.

This is for neurotypical children/students but what about those with special needs?  In my opinion it is vastly different?

My daughter, Elizabeth, has special needs.  She has sensory processing disorder (SPD) and global dyspraxia.  So for her time in school, we could not wait until conference night to bring up any and all concerns.  For us, they had to be addressed right away.  Before they took root, before they caused a another issue to pop up.

For example, perhaps a classroom was too loud for Elizabeth and she got anxious from her sensory issues.  She would then be unable to relax in the room and would not focus and this would lead to her being anxious as she was asked questions.  She would not be able to do the work as she could not focus.  And so on and so on….

The concern may seem little but to those with special needs it can be huge.

The concern may be something others think will go away. But it may not, as Elizabeth can remember things that made her anxious YEARS ago.

The concern may be something that others will not understand.  But it does not matter who understands only that we do what our special children need!

So I offer that you get ready for your conference time for your special child.

Read the IEP again….when the teacher talks about goals/successes/percentages, you will be refreshed on it all.

-Make a list of concerns….when people go to the doctor they make up lists of things to remember…do the same.  And also remind yourself you are the advocate for your child.  Their voice if they do not have one.

-Ask for more time…I know you cannot that night but do not be afraid to ask for another time to talk if you are not satisfied with how much information you got.

Ask for more communication coming home…..if you need to know more on a daily basis, maybe now is the time to ask about a daily communication sheet.  Something to have to tell you how the day went and for you to tell the school what you did at night.  Kind of keeps everyone so well informed.

Conference time is coming…so always a good idea, at least to me, to prepare ahead of time!

Good luck to all.

I wish everyone a peaceful week.

Michele Gianetti author of:

I Believe In You: A Mother and Daughter’s Special Journey

Emily’s Sister

Elizabeth Believes In Herself: The Special Journey Continues