|How To Work With Teachers & Schools
|Working With Teachers And Schools--
Many teachers say that they don't often receive enough information from parents about problems at
home. Many parents say that they don't know what the school expects from their children—or from
them. Sharing information is essential and both teachers and parents are responsible for making it
happen. The following information can help you to get the most out of talking to your child's teacher or
with other school staff members:
The first thing you, the parent, should do is to learn everything that you can about your child's school.
The more you know, the easier your job will be in dealing with their "system."
- Ask for a school handbook. This will answer many questions that will arise over the year. If your
school doesn't have a handbook, ask questions.
- Ask the principal and teachers, for example: What classes does the school offer? Which classes are
required? What are your expectations for my child? How does the school measure student
progress? Does it meet state standards? What are the school's rules and regulations?
- Ask about specific teaching methods and materials—are the methods based on evidence about
what works best in teaching reading or math? Are the science and history textbooks up to date?
- Ask if the school has a Web site and, if so, get the address. School Web sites can provide you with
read access to all kinds of information—schedules of events, names of people to contact, rules and
regulations and so forth.
Keep informed throughout the school year. If your schedule permits, attend PTA or PTO meetings. If
you are unable to attend, ask that the minutes of the meetings be sent to you. Or, find out if the school
makes these minutes available on its Web site.
You should talk with your child’s teachers early and often. Contact your child's teacher or teachers at
the beginning of the year or as soon as you can. Get acquainted and show your interest. Tell teachers
what they need to know about your child. If she has special needs, make these known from the
beginning. If you notice a big change in your child's behavior, school performance or attitude during the
school year, contact the teacher immediately.
Report cards are one indication of how well your child is doing in school. But you also need to know how
things are going between report cards. For example, if your son is having trouble in math, contact the
teacher to find out when he has his next math test and when it will be returned to him. This allows you
to address a problem before it mushrooms into something bigger. Call the teacher if your son doesn't
understand an assignment or if he needs extra help to complete an assignment. You may also want to
find out if your child's teachers use e-mail to communicate with parents. Using e-mail will allow you to
send and receive messages at times that are most convenience for you.
If your child has a problem (e.g., understanding homework or what’s happening in class), contact the
teacher immediately. Schools have a responsibility to keep you informed about your child's performance
and behavior and you have a right to be upset if you don't find out until report-card time that your child
is having difficulties. On the other hand, you may figure out that a problem exists before the teacher
does. By alerting the teacher, you can work together to solve a problem in its early stages.
Request a meeting with the teacher to discuss problems. Tell her briefly why you want to meet. You
might say, "My son is having trouble with his social studies homework. I'm worried about why he can't
finish the assignments and what we might do to help him."
Approach the teacher with a cooperative spirit. Believe that the teacher wants to help you and your
child, even if you disagree about something. Don't go to the principal without first giving the teacher a
chance to work out the problem with you and your child.
Get the most out of parent-teacher conferences. Be prepared to listen as well as to talk. It helps to write
out questions before you leave home. Also jot down what you want to tell the teacher. Be prepared to
take notes during the conference and ask for an explanation if you don't understand something. In
conferences, the teacher should offer specific details about your child's work and progress. If your child
has already received some grades, ask how your child is being evaluated.
Talk about your child's talents, skills, hobbies, study habits and any special sensitivities (e.g., concern
about weight or speech difficulties). Tell the teacher if you think your child needs special help and about
any special family situation or event that might affect your child's ability to learn. Mention such things
as a new baby, an illness or a recent or an upcoming move. Ask about specific ways to help your child at
home. Try to have an open mind.
At home, think about what the teacher has said and then follow up. If the teacher has told you that your
child needs to improve in certain areas, check back in a few weeks to see how things are going.
If you don’t agree with a school rule or with a teacher’s assignments, don't argue with the teacher in
front of your child. Set up a meeting to talk about the issue. Before the meeting, plan what you are going
to say—why you think a rule is unfair or what exactly you don't like about an assignment. Get your facts
straight and don't rely on anger to win your argument. Try to be positive and remain calm. Listen
If the teacher's explanation doesn't satisfy you, arrange to talk with the principal or even the school
superintendent. Do not feel intimidated by titles or personalities. An educator's primary responsibility is
to ensure the success of each and every student in his classroom, school or district.
Stay involved in your child’s school activities. Attend school events. Go to sports events and concerts.
Attend back-to-school night, parent-teacher meetings and awards events, (e.g., "perfect attendance"
Volunteer in your school. If your schedule permits, look for ways to help out at your child's school.
Schools often send home lists of ways in which parents can get involved. Chaperones are needed for
school trips or dances (and if your child thinks it's just too embarrassing to have you on the dance floor,
sell soft drinks down the hall from the dance). School committees need members and the school
newsletter may need an editor.
The school may have councils or advisory committees that need parent representatives. If work or
other commitments make it impossible for you to volunteer in the school, look for ways to help at home.
For example, you can make phone calls to other parents to tell them about school-related activities or
maybe help translate a school newsletter from English into another language.
Even if don’t have time to volunteer to do work at the school building, you can help your child learn
when you're at home. The key question is, "What can I do at home, easily and in a few minutes a day, to
reinforce and extend what the school is doing?" This is the involvement that every family can and must
Disability (NVLD or NLD)
is a lot like Asperger
Syndrome (AS). AS and NVLD are generally
thought to describe pretty much the same kind
of disorder, but to differ in severity—with AS
describing more severe symptoms.
Signs of NVLD include:
· Great vocabulary and verbal expression
· Excellent memory skills
· Attention to detail, but misses the big picture
· Trouble understanding reading
· Difficulty with math, especially word problems
· Poor abstract reasoning
· Physically awkward; poor coordination
· Messy and laborious handwriting
· Concrete thinking; taking things very literally
· Trouble with nonverbal communication, like
body language, facial expression and tone of
· Poor social skills; difficulty making and
· Fear of new situations
· Trouble adjusting to changes
· May be very naïve and lack common sense
· Anxiety, depression, low self-esteem
· May withdraw, becoming agoraphobic
(abnormal fear of open spaces)
Here are some parenting tips for kids with
· Keep the environment predictable and
· Provide structure and routine.
· Prepare your child for changes, giving logical
· Pay attention to sensory input from the
environment, like noise, temperature, smells,
many people around, etc.
· Help your child learn coping skills for dealing
with anxiety and sensory difficulties.
· Be logical, organized, clear, concise and
concrete. Avoid jargon, double meanings,
sarcasm, nicknames, and teasing.
· State your expectations clearly.
· Be very specific about cause and effect
· Work with your child’s school to modify
homework assignments, testing (time and
content), grading, art and physical education.
· Have your child use the computer at school
and at home for schoolwork.
· Help your child learn organizational and time
· Make use of your child’s verbal skills to help
with social interactions and non-verbal
experiences. For example, giving a verbal
explanation of visual material.
· Teach your child about non-verbal
communication (facial expressions, gestures,
etc.). Help them learn how to tell from others’
reactions whether they are communicating
· Learn about social competence and how to
· Help your child out in group activities.
· Get your child into the therapies they need,
such as: occupational and physical therapy,
psychological, or speech and language (to
address social issues).
· Steer your child toward a playmate they have
something in common with and set up a play
date. This is a way to get some social skills
experience in a small, controlled, less-
· See if you can find a small-group social
skills training program in your school system,
medical system, or community. This kind of
program will probably not be available in
· Encourage your child to develop interests
that will build their self-esteem and help them
relate to other kids. For example, if your child
is interested in Pokémon, pursuing this
interest may open social doors for them with
· Talk to your child in private after you have
gone with them to a group activity. You can
discuss with them how they could improve the
way they interact with other kids. For example,
you might point out that other kids don't feel
comfortable when your child stands so close
to them. Help them practice the social skills
you explain to them through role-playing.
· Bullying is unacceptable. Your child's school
must make every effort to prevent it. If talking to
your child's teachers and principal does not
put an end to the victimization, ask your child's
doctor to write a letter to the school, and
pursue the issue up to higher channels in the
school district if necessary.
· These kids need as few handicaps as
possible, so make sure your child is getting
the counseling, therapies, and/or medication
they need to treat any other problems or
medical conditions they might have.
· Reassure your child that you value them for
who they are. It's a little tricky to help your child
improve social skills, and at the same time
nurture their confidence to hold on to their
World-renowned expert on Asperger's Syndrome Dr.
Tony Attwood has teamed up with Kirsten Callesen
and Annette Moller Nielsen of Denmark to create a
powerful yet user-friendly tool that gets straight to the
core of the thoughts and emotions behind behavior.
The CAT-kit offers an easy, hands-on way for young
people to communicate with adults, and each other.
It's great for:
Parents. The kit will simplify day-to-day conversation
and help you deal with inappropriate displays of
Teachers. With its visual and concrete design, the kit
attracts students' attention and can be implemented
and cleaned up in a matter of minutes.
Therapists and counselors. The kit allows you to
obtain valuable information about thoughts and
feelings in an open, non-stressful environment.
Kids and young adults. They love to have fun while
learning about themselves and those around them.
Call 800.489.0727 or visit www.FHautism.com for
CLICK HERE for an example of a completed Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) form…
CLICK HERE for a blank Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) and Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) form…