Parents are an integral part of the special education team. They know the most about their children strengths, weaknesses and personal preferences. Therapists and other school staff need to include parents in all decision making for children. Here are some tips on improving your communication with parents:
1. Always start off a conversation stressing a child's strengths. No one wants to hear only negative comments.
2. Be very specific about your concerns for their child without using any medical terminology.
3. Do not be judgemental. If the child is the firstborn in a family, parents may not always recognize delays in the child's development.
4. Be patient. You may be the first person to tell the parents that their child may need some extra help. Give them time to digest the information and schedule a time to talk again.
5. Allow plenty of time for questions. Make sure you have the time to address any questions the parent may have. Do not run off to your next scheduled appointment with unanswered questions.
6. Listen! Make sure you listen to the parent's comment or concerns. They usually have the best insight into their own child.
To read more on communication, check out the article Let's Talk: How To Communicate Effectively with the Special Educaiton Team.
Would love to hear from parents with any of their own tips on how to improve communication. Please comment.