It is not uncommon to find parents seeking special education services for their child while leaving the school and teachers in the dark about it. Very often, a fear that their child may be deemed unfit to study in a regular school, prevents parents from opening up to teachers. While some teachers are not aware of the types of learning difficulties, most teachers have some degree of awareness. However, they should also be open to helping children with learning differences by exhibiting some flexibility in their expectations. Parents may provide information to teacher in the form of articles, website links etc. At times, teachers may feel their competence is being questioned when parents approach them about their child’s difficulties in class. Parents should make sure that they are not aggressive and accusatory when they talk to their child’s teacher. In fact, the parent should model respect by speaking politely to the teacher.
As is obvious, the child has to endure the consequences of a lack of connection between parents and teachers. A child with a difficulty benefits most when there is open and regular communication among parents, teachers and the special educator. A study in the US conducted by the National Association of School Psychologists found these results in children following a study about home-school communication:
• “Improved test scores
• Improved grades
• More positive student attitudes
• Fewer special education referrals
• Lower dropout rates
• Less high risk behavior
• Higher staff morale
• Enhanced relationships between school and community
• Increased parental support for school’s initiatives and programs
• Increased donations of goods, materials and services to the school
• Improved parental opinion of and regard for the school”
Parents must remember that the way they approach their child’s teacher is of utmost importance. When parents talk to teachers in a calm manner without blaming them or putting the teacher in a defensive position, teachers are more likely to listen.
Lavoie, R. (2008). The Teacher’s Role in Home/School Communication: EVERYBODY WINS!! Exclusive to LD OnLine. http://www.ldonline.org/article/28021/
(An edited version of this article was first published in ‘In Sync with Kids’ at http://www.prayatna.org/blog)