One thing I add to my game plan when working with kids with any special needs is frequent communication with parents or guardians. This is especially true with my kids on the spectrum. There are many benefits to frequent communication.
First and foremost, it allows me to build a relationship with parents. Frequent communication between parents and other caregivers allows those important, strong relationships to be built as well. Raising and educating a child with special needs can be very stressful. The adults working with high-needs children must work together as a team. It’s important for those team members to be able to trust each other, even in times when they disagree with each other. When I communicate frequently with parents, they understand that I have genuine care and concern for their child. They get to know me and my motives – why I make the decisions I make.
Frequent communication also allows the parent to have a voice. I get the opportunity to hear their thoughts and find out what is and is not working at home. I often hear parents say that they feel left out – unheard. What a wealth of information we are missing when we shut out the people who have lived in the trenches with our intriguing kids on the spectrum for their whole lives!
Frequent communication helps keep emotions at a minimum – most of the time. Instead of letting things simmer, they are brought to light on a regular basis. This allows us to talk through and process through issues or stressors that may exist.
Frequent communication allows us, the members of the child’s team, to keep things consistent for the child. Consistency is everything for kids on the spectrum.
I think those of us who are completely invested in certain kids tend to want to go to battle for them. In some cases, we jump headfirst into a fight without listening to the other side. We may initially feel as though we are on opposing teams but soon realize that we are fighting the same battle – just with different strategies.
At the end of the day, frequent communication benefits the student – isn’t’ that our end goal? When we work as a team and are all on the same page, the child wins.