Parent Communication - The Autism Helper

Parent Communication

Categories: Resources

I have gotten a lot of emails lately about a tricky topic. Parent communication. What’s enough? What’s too much? How can you find that perfect balance and make the parents happy while not completely stressing yourself out. I told you – tricky.

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 have used a daily note home in the past. I have mixed emotions on it. It can be helpful by providing a brief snapshot. But I do  think the daily notes do often fall into the snack/lunch/generic comment due to the time constraints. It is going to depend on what the parents in your classroom are comfortable with. Some parents really appreciate the little bit of info each day. I love this picture format because then your student can help you fill it out! Even your nonverbal students can assist in this process! Download a freebie here – Visual Home Letter.

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With most of 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 personally 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.

I also do a monthly newsletter. This is fun way to give all of the parents a recap on our past month and a little preview on the month to come! The kids really look forward to reading these! I have a template of this in my Must-Have Forms and Templates Packet.

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I use this collaboration log to track my communications with all parents. These may seem like extra work that is not necessary but I promise you – if you are ever in a questionable due-process-like-scenario – you will be HAPPY you have this little buddy. It’s also a great way to see which parents you haven’t connected with in a while. This template is also in the Must-Haves Resource!

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How do you communicate with parents? 

Sasha Long
Latest posts by Sasha Long (see all)

16 Comments

  1. I love that daily note. I am trying one similar this year which has them draw a picture of an event from the day, list who they played with, and they circle the kind of day they had. I have no time to write notes home each day so I figured this gives parents at least some information and some talking points. Thanks for sharing!

    Becky
    Lesson Plans & Lattes

    Reply
  2. I do something very similar to your visual note home each day. My students fill it out with minimal help at the end of the day. Most of the time I don’t have time to even add additional written notes – that space usually gets taken up by other staff (therapists, nurses, etc) who stop in throughout the day and ask, would you add this to so-and-so’s home note today?

    I’m impressed you open up texting with your parents! I have had some high maintenance parents in the past (and will have at least one in particular this coming year) who would text me at all hours of the evening and on the weekends if they got my cell number. Have you ever had to deal with that?

    Kara
    Spedventures

    Reply
  3. I know, it’s so time consuming, right!? Love the picture idea, super cute!

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  4. Yes – I have. I usually put in some “ground rules” related to texting/calling. I don’t have a phone in my classroom so in the end it saves me the time of running around the building to find a phone to call parents. It is a risk though!

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  5. I love your ideas.
    I completely agree with the daily note sent home. As a parent, I would much rather receive a weekly note stating what my child enjoyed or if he did something new as well as what my child did not enjoy or had difficulty with.

    Reply
  6. Good to hear! Thanks for commenting, Becky. I love hearing from parents.

    Reply
  7. I am unable to open the visual communication to parents. Can you email me a copy?

    Thanks

    Reply
  8. Just emailed you 🙂

    Reply
  9. Thanks for this post. I just downloaded your Must have resources and I know I have a high maintenance parent coming up. I think this parent wants minute by minute updates to make sure everything in his IEP is included in his day. What is the best way to set boundaries while still keeping the lines of communication open?

    Reply
  10. Great question – I would CLEARLY outline when and how you can be contacted. Are texts okay? What time can you be texted until? Lay those guidelines out very strictly! Good luck! 🙂

    Reply
  11. High maintenance parents are usually “high maintenance” because the teacher IS NOT communicating effectively with them. So I recommend re-thinking before you label a parent “high maintenance”.

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  12. Great point! Often something that didn’t work with another teacher is misconstrued. It’s all about finding something that works for both. I always recommend asking parents how often and how they would like to be communicated with.

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  13. Thanks. After I posted that remark, I regretted my wording and realized I was flippant. Just a little stressed with working summer school and trying to plan for my new classroom.

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  14. No worries! We all get stressed! 🙂

    Reply
  15. Love these ideas Sasha! I am in a district where parents are EXTREMELY involved. I am looking for ways to make sure that need is fulfilled! Thank You!
    P.S.- Do you mind sharing what age range/grades you currently teach? Thanks!

    Reply
  16. I currently teacher 5-8th grade! 🙂 But these resources can be applied to most grade levels!

    Reply

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