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6 Things My Child’s Teacher Needs to Know About Working With My Child With a Disability

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The beginning of a new school year has arrived.

Teachers’ rooms will be filled with students, perhaps many they have never met. For parents, it may mean entrusting your beloved child with a teacher who is, in effect, a stranger. This can be one of the most stressful experiences I have as a parent of a child on the spectrum.

Therefore, these are six things I want my child’s teacher to know:

1. We are on the same team.

This happened the moment my child became your student. Like a true teammate, I am depending on you to be and do the best you can. You can rest assured I will do the same. You have experience and a skill set as a teacher and I have experience and a skill set as your student’s parent. Let’s work together to complement each other’s strengths.

2. Do not hesitate to reach out to me.

If you are uncertain about something regarding my child and think I might have insight, I probably do. I would much, much rather answer the phone or an email to proactively be of assistance than try to put the pieces back together after things fall apart.


3. You are the opportunity and power to change a life — for better or worse.

Everything you say and do — even how you feel deeply, affects my child. The adage, “kids are resilient — they bounce back” doesn’t apply here. My child can break.

4. My child is trying her best.

This may not always be evident. Please don’t take a bad day personally or hold a grudge. She is not trying to be bad. More likely than not, she is just trying to survive in a world she doesn’t always understand and vice-versa.

5. Just because my child’s condition isn’t always obvious does not makes it less real.

There will be days that are easier and days that are more difficult — my child is autistic every day. When another difficulty appears (and I purposely say “when” and not “if”) it does not diminish successes you and she have shared up until that point. It is simply another challenge you will meet and overcome.

6. Believe in her abilities so she can believe in herself.

You will see how much she can grow when she feels nurtured. It might even be one of the best school years you ever have.

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Thinkstock image by Wavebreakmedia Ltd

Originally published: August 28, 2017
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