I find the article, How Parents & Teachers Can Work Together in the Inclusive Classroom, by Nicole Eredics very helpful. Eredics is both a parent of two special needs children and an inclusive education teacher and has developed and discovered many valuable resources for parents, teachers and schools focus on the inclusion of special needs children in the classroom. She actively encourages parents’ participation in the inclusive classroom and set up strategies that parents can use to create a successful partnership with teachers in the inclusive classroom. Parents’ active participation in the education of his/her child with special needs is invaluable, and by sharing knowledge, resources and times, parents can help ensure that their child is in the best possible learning environment. Together, parents and teachers of special needs students can create pathways to school success.
Steps to Success
Here is a list of strategies that parents can use to create a successful partnership with teachers in the inclusive classroom:
- Inform the School. When your child is registered for school, indicate that he or she has special needs in writing.
- Meet with the Principal. Ask questions related to school safety, routines, resources and steps that will be taken to address your child's special needs.
- Meet with the Teacher. Do this as soon as possible before the first IEP meeting. Introduce yourself and share information about your child.
- Develop a Communication Strategy. Set up the best method to communicate with the teacher to share brief updates and information about your child's progress.
- Demonstrate Capabilities. Bring in your child's portfolio of his or her work from home to meetings with the school, to demonstrate your child's overall strengths and weakness.
- Provide the Teacher with Resources. Create a folder of handouts, articles, written strategies, or website addresses that you believe will be useful to the education of your child.
- Help and Support the Teacher. Help and support the teacher in the classroom. Be prepared to support other children too, as this frees up more time for the teacher to work directly with your child.
- Prepare for the IEP Meeting. Be prepared for the IEP meeting - make sure to arrive on time and know what the goals of the meeting. Write down concerns and questions you have.
- Provide Information and Evidence. Notify the school of any outside evaluations, medical information or support services that can help school personnel continue to provide a strong educational program.
- Offer Feedback. Provide constructive feedback if needed. Indicate what has worked for your child and what has not. Teachers reflect daily on their practice and make changes according to their students' success.