With the new school year well underway, teachers are beginning to gain information regarding their student’s areas of strength and weakness. Many times teachers are hesitant to bring up concerns to parents. Also, many parents will want to take a ‘wait and see’ approach in order to help determine whether or not these areas of concern will go away on their own. Our advice to both parents and teachers is this: Do not wait and act now.
Advice for teachers regarding bringing up student concerns to parents:
- Collect anecdotal data to reveal the concern to the parents.
- Provide the parents with the strategies that have already been tried in the classroom.
- Provide the parents with specifics as to how the behaviors of interest are impacting the child’s learning or social needs.
Advice for parents regarding handling concerns brought up by teachers:
- Do not take the concern as an insult about your parenting or your child.
- Ask the teacher questions about the frequency and duration of the behaviors. When are they occurring?
- Ask the teacher questions about what steps/interventions have already been implemented?
- Work with the teacher as to what an ideal outcome and game plan would be.
Speak to your child’s pediatrician about the concerns, and ask for a referral for either an initial assessment by a neuropsychologist to help identify concerns or for specific interventions if the concerns have already been identified (e.g. speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, social work, etc.).
It is important for teachers and parents to realize that any concerns that are evident in the academic setting should be brought up and discussed with the parents. The ideal is to work as a team with all parties to help create realistic and practical accommodations and interventions to ensure that the child gets the most out of the academic year.