5 Strategies To Help You Work Positively With Parents Of Children with Special Educational Needs
Learning how to work closely with parents of children with special educational needs and fostering a positive relationship with them is essential. In fact, it can be as important as learning how to support the child. Here are five strategies to help you establish a trusting and collaborative relationship with parents…
1. Establish Communication Early On
Establishing communication with parents is extremely important, but even more so for a parent with a child with special educational needs. The earlier you can introduce yourself and establish regular contact with parents, the more likely it is that you will be able to foster a positive relationship with them.
Many parents of children with special educational needs have increased anxiety and worry regarding their child. As such, it’s vital that you try to build a trusting relationship with them early on. This will help you to work together, ensuring that the child can receive the best support possible.
2. Engage In Regular Contact
Maintaining consistent, ongoing contact and open communication with parents is crucial. It can be extremely disappointing and disheartening for parents of children with special educational needs to only have contact with teachers when there has been an incident or they need to discuss ways of managing challenging behavior. As such, seek out opportunities to contact parents with positive news and updates as well.
“Daily communication books are a great option,” says Julie Yager, a parenting blogger at DraftBeyond and LastMinuteWriting. “It can be helpful to include a daily timetable or outline of the activities the child has done that day so parents can engage in conversation with their child at home. Information about the child’s behavior and disposition during the day, including any activities they particularly enjoyed or excelled at can be very reassuring, especially for parents of children with limited verbal communication abilities.”
3. Provide Parents With Relevant Information
For parents of a child with a special educational need, it can sometimes be difficult to know where to access help and information. Providing parents with information to help them navigate their child’s needs can be extremely valuable and can help reassure parents that you are committed to supporting their child.
“Provide parents with a range of information, including handouts, reading list recommendations and websites they can access for more information. It can also be overwhelming to be confronted with specialist terminology or acronyms related to inclusive education, so make sure that you explain these common concepts to parents to help them feel involved, particularly during meetings or discussions,” says Elizabeth Phillips, a tutor at Writinity and Researchpapersuk.
4. Suggest Joining A Support Group
Most parents who have children with special educational needs are keen to find ways to improve their child’s opportunities for development and growth. Some parents may also be feeling overwhelmed or struggling to cope. As such, consider suggesting that parents join a local support group or a virtual support network.
Support groups can be a great way for parents to create a support network who they can interact with. Having the opportunity to meet other parents in a similar situation can be extremely reassuring and beneficial. Not only do parents have the opportunity to share their experiences, but they can also share and receive practical help and support.
5. Create A Strong Home-School Link
Aim to create a strong home-school link, by connecting behavior at school with consequences at home. In particular, work closely with parents to find rewards for positive behavior and hard work during school time. When it comes to negative or poor behavior, share any restorative justice strategies you use in school with parents and work closely with them to suggest appropriate and proportional consequences at home.
When working with parents of children with special educational needs, it’s vital to establish open communication channels early on and to engage in consistent, regular communication. Providing feedback on positive behavior and achievements will make it easier to engage in meaningful discussions and strategies for dealing with negative behavior and will foster trust between you. Regular contact with parents, including sharing resources and strategies, will help them to feel that you are working together. This will lead to a more positive and effective relationship that will benefit the child’s learning and development.
Ashley Halsey is a professional writer at Business Assignments and Gum Essays. She has been involved in numerous projects throughout the country, including working with educators and facilitators of children with special educational needs. Ashley also regularly attends business training courses and enjoys finding out about the latest developments. A mother of two, Ashley enjoys traveling with her family and reading in her spare time.