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Teachers, Please Reach Out to Parents of Students With Disabilities

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As school started this week, I was struck that not one teacher reached out to me. No emails. No phone calls. No questions.

A friend once said that teaching a child with disabilities is like lighting a bonfire. Yes, lighting a fire can be done the hard way, without tools. But if the teacher is smart, they will ask the parent for help. The parents hold the lighter.

We, as parents, know our children best. We have information, resources and tools to make teaching our child easier. We know what motivates our child, we know what has worked in the past, and we know what makes our child feel successful.

Many of our children have deficits in expressive language and we have been their voice for years. We will continue to be their voice for years. Let us help you to learn how they communicate best, what their interests are, and where their passions lie. This is the key to knowing every student — knowing what motivates them best.

We, as parents, know what milestones we are striving towards and a teacher may not. We, as parents, know what others before us have done, and often have an entire community to reach out to for support.

A teacher may not know that the end result we are looking for is employment. A teacher may not know that our biggest life goal is always independence, and we need inclusion for that to happen easily.

So, teachers, please do reach out!

Please don’t assume you know best after meeting my child for a few hours or a few days.
Please don’t assume you know the best method for teaching my child.
Please don’t assume that your short-term goals fit into our long-term goals.
Please always, always assume competence.

Teachers, please do ask questions!

Please include parents, please work with us, and as a team, we will be much more successful!

Together, we can all kick back and enjoy s’mores around that bonfire.
We can ignite my child’s passion to grow and take strides forward academically.
We can see firsthand the excitement to learn burning brightly in their eyes.
We can do it together, better.

Originally published: August 26, 2020
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