Collaboration Week: a Parent's Perspective - The Autism Helper

Collaboration Week: a Parent’s Perspective

Categories: Data | Resources

It is really important to try to see something from someone else’s perspective. It is so easy to get caught up in your own stressors and schedules. You get this narrow vision where you simply cannot understand why everyone else around doesn’t have the exact same ideas as you. Well – snap out of it. Because while your life is full of competing contingencies – so are the lives of every member on your team. Each person who you collaborate with comes from a unique perspective and has their own agenda. We all have our own agenda. Nothing bad about that. But know we need to figure out how to get our agendas to work together. Today we have some amazing and dedicated parents sharing their perspectives on what successful collaboration should look like. The parent is really the king of the castle in collaboration land. We are talking about their baby, their life. Working successfully and effectively with parents should be a top priority for all teachers because it will help ensure student growth and progress!

One parent writes:

Right now, my main concern with our school is communication.  My son is non-verbal so he cannot fill us in on his day.  I am very involved with him and his education and want to know what goes on during school – Like what is he working on for goals, who did he interact with, etc.  We do have a communication book that goes back and forth with a standard form to fill out by the teacher.  It is very simple in that there are boxes for Arrival/Morning Routine; AM Work; Snack; Specials; Lunch; Social Group/Playgroung; PM Work; Speech; OT; Behavior.    We have a check system and there is room for little explanations.  However, most days, all that is filled in is what he ate for snack and lunch.  So, I have NO idea what goals he worked on that day, if at any, where he is regarding his work, like his math skills, spelling, etc.   Now, I know you teachers are extremely busy and if you are filling out a detailed explanation, it is time taken away from your teaching/planning (well, at least that was the explanation I received from several teachers).  But, you don’t know what it means to a parent to get a little note describing something cute or funny your child did.  It seems it takes an email from me or my concern raised at an IEP meeting to keep up on the teacher. 

I also drive my son to school and sometimes the teacher will think it appropriate to want to chat and talk about my son in front of him while he is all stressed out just wanting to go home. 

Don’t you want to just hug this mom? I wish she was one of the parents from my classroom. This woman is already on board the collaboration train and empathizing with the constraints of a teacher’s busy schedule. However – it sounds like a this communication system is really not working. She raises a great point about the home/school note – the point isn’t just to hear what your child ate for snack. I always feel torn regarding this issue. I cannot imagine how frustrating it is to have your child come home each day and not be able to hear about his day. However my day is jam packed and as much as I’d love to write a detailed note to each parent each day – honestly – there is just no way. It would take away from academic/IEP time – which I don’t want either. I think the daily notes do often fall into the snack/lunch/generic comment due to these time constraints. We need a better system. With my parents – I tend to go quality over quantity. For my parents who are involved – I write a weekly report about what we worked in the past week and what is coming up next week with suggestion for activities for home. It’s not as much communication as a daily note – but I would find it much more helpful. And I feel like I can add some real content because I can sit and type on my computer when I have some real time.  I am also a huge texter – which might sound weird but it is so much easier and is a great way to add in those great anecdotes we all want to share! I can text parents a quick pic of their child or a funny story easily in the middle of the day.

collaboration week

Other tips or advice regarding parent collaboration? {from parents or teachers?}

Sasha Long
Latest posts by Sasha Long (see all)

8 Comments

  1. Ugh, I totally feel for that parent but as a teacher, also agree with what you’re saying. One of my kiddos is nonverbal and we definitely try to give her more info on behaviors, what he does academically, etc. but it definitely takes up a lot of time to do that! Hopefully they can find a way to meet in the middle.

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  2. The best communication thing that has happened in my class is smartphones! For my parents that can check their email on their phone, or have email, I try to send them pictures of their kids straight from my iPhone. It only takes me a few seconds and all my kids know they have done something terrific when I whip out my phone. Last week I even started an iep with my phone hooked to my projector (a $30 adapter thing from apple)to show the parents a video of their kinder w autism reading a full page of text! I only send the positive, they already know what a melt down looks like. Unfortunately, I work in a high poverty area so most of my families don’t have that access but for the ones that do, it has made a huge difference. For the ones that don’t, I’ve been trying to email myself the picture then when we go to computer lab (with a color printer) and everyone is settled, I try to remember to print the pictures to send home to the parents. It helps me focus on the positive and I hardly ever have any parent problems that I hear other teachers having. A little bit of positive goes a long way.

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  3. I could have written this same scenario, because I deal with the same issue. My son is also mostly nonverbal. I know that it is not a reasonable expectation to receive a detailed note every day nor every week. I sometimes feel like I am irritating my son’s teacher by nagging about wanting to know what he is doing at school, who, if anyone, did he play with, did he participate in class, etc. I sympathize with the parent. It is so hard, yet I also know my son’s teacher(like most teachers) want to do everything they can.

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  4. I send home a note with my kids after each therapy session. It’s a check list so the parents have some idea of what we did. They are sometimes very brief and sometimes very detailed… The parents appreciate it. The checklists make it easy. A few checks and I’m done!

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  5. I love that! That is exactly what I do! Great point about the meltdowns – parents already know what those look like.

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  6. Thanks for your comment Kayla! 🙂

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  7. Thanks for your comment Becky! I can’t imagine how frustrating it is for parents to have so many unanswered questions. I hope that these posts and comments have re-emphasized for all the teachers how critical parent communication is.

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  8. Great idea Jacqueline! I love checklists – efficient yet still can share information!

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