When your child walks in for the first time in his new classroom, the teacher usually knows only what others have said about her. That's her first impression.
Put your voice in the mix right from the start! Compose a letter to introduce your child and email it to the teacher a week before school begins.
We’ve found this humanizing snapshot projects the child beyond her IEP, and sets up a friendly start to the school year. Teachers tell us they appreciate the gesture, and the information—as long as it’s brief! Keep it to one page.
Start the letter with a warm cooperative tone, like: "Sarah is very much looking forward to starting third grade with you this year. I'm writing to introduce her, describe techniques that work well for her, and ask for your help and sensitivity."
What should your passport letter include?
Descriptive photo of your child enjoying a favorite activity (printed on the page, not attached)
Specific names of your child’s disabilities and when diagnosed
Positive attributes of your child – stick with three
Symptoms to watch out for, and their triggers
Techniques to calm your child, including safe words/phrases
Tips on what has worked in previous classrooms, and what has not
Information about your child’s social interactions
Your child’s favorites—subjects, items, foods—which can be motivators
Your offer to help in the classroom, on field trips, with projects
Close with your contact information and the best methods and times to reach you.
By setting up the partnership for success from the beginning, your child’s passport into the next grade can be stamped with approval!
Despite your best efforts, if your child has continuing issues making progress in the classroom, or you begin to wonder if issues could be potential learning difficulties that need attention, please reach out to us at Cape Cod Advocate. We have years of experience working with families to see if special education services would be helpful and, if so, guiding parents through the process.