Teachers can be great allies in keeping your child with autism safe and successful in school, but you will need to make sure they have all the knowledge they need to be successful.
Create an information packet to bring educators up to speed. Some things you may want to include in the packet:
- Information about your child – dislikes, likes, triggers, quirks and behaviors and how to calm your child if they are overwhelmed/ stimulated. Include information about an aid if one is assigned to your child. Inform the teacher what tasks the aid will be assisting with.
- Send a notebook for two-way communication during the school year. If your child had a tough night or is off routine write it in the notebook, so the teacher is aware. The notebook can be used by the teacher to ask for your input if your child is struggling; also the teacher can share information about strategies they find that work well.
- Provide contact information. Phone numbers and times available at the numbers, email addresses and emergency contact information if they are unable to reach you.
Meet the teacher
Both you and your child should meet with their teacher before school starts. This will provide multiple benefits for you, the teacher and your child. Your child will be able to meet the teacher and gets to see the room and be able to set a visual marker in their mind. You and the teacher can discuss how you want to use the communication notebook, strategies for teaching your child and a basic get to know the person. Extend an open invitation to talk to the classroom about autism, let the teacher handle talking to other parents and scheduling.
If you are unable to meet with the school’s principal ahead of the school year, try to get an appointment as soon as possible. Introduce yourself bring one of the teacher’s information packets with you. You do not to take a large amount of time, make the principal aware that you are open to communication and want to make sure everyone in your child’s classroom(s) are receiving the best education possible.
Remember, the start of school is a hectic time for teachers. Even with the best intentions, they may not want to spend their free time reading reams of material. They will appreciate and mostly read a packet that looks manageable and well-thought-out. Most teachers want to help every child succeed, so when parents are proactive teachers are very appreciative.