3 Tips for Effective Communication with Parents in Education
3 tips for effective communication with parents in education

Effective Communication with Parents in Education

There is nothing more important than effective communication with parents in education. Effective communication with families promotes trust and an amazing partnership. I believe that parents who trust you and feel valued in their child's education are more likely to support teachers.

effective communication with parents in education

What is the Role of Parents in Special Education?

The role of parents in special education is very important. It is our job as special educators to make parents feel like part of their child's IEP team (because they are!) Their role is to support you and help make educational decisions for their child as well. If they do not feel heard or part of their child's educational team, it might make for some difficult IEP meetings in the future.

what is the role of parents in special education

Communication with Parents of Special Education Students

Communication with parents of special education students is possibly MORE important than even students in general education. Why? Some students are nonverbal or have limited vocabulary and cannot tell parents about their school day. Even if not, many of our students might have difficulties with sequencing or answering /wh/ questions. This is why communication with parents of special education students is so important. It helps to bridge the gap between school and home.

communication with parents of special education students

3 Tips for Effective Communication with Parents in Education

1. Use a Daily Communication Form

Using a daily communication form between school and home is one of the first things that I get ready for the school year. I keep these in the child's binder or folder and print a bunch of copies at the beginning of the year. During the last half of the school day, either myself or one of my paraprofessionals will make sure the daily communication form is completely filled out. Sometimes some of my high school students can complete it with minimal help. If this is the case, then I definitely have them do it to take ownership of their day!

On the daily communication form, it asks questions such as:

Did you participate in morning meeting?

What therapies did you have?

How did you do with the bathroom?

What did you play on recess?

What special did you go to?

How did you do during independent work time?

For each of these questions, there are multiple answers to choose from and you just put a checkmark in the box that applies. This is the main thing that I love about it! Not any writing unless I want to put something extra in the notes section that has blank lines! I don't have time to write a paragraph (or even a few sentences) about each student because that would take up too much time. This has been a life saver!


2. Communicate the Positive Things to Parents

We all know that some students can be difficult to manage at school. Please please please don't fall into the trap of ONLY calling parents to tell them not-so-great news. They will start to resent the school and get worried every time they see that phone number come through.

Instead, communicate the positive things to parents, too! Shoot them a quick message to let them know that Caleb shared his crayons with a friend. Make a 3-minute phone call at the end of the day to let them know that Hazel read 5 new sight words today that she didn't know last week. These things may seem small and trivial, but I PROMISE YOU, it will be worth it. When you keep positive communication going, parents are going to support you 10 times more. If you need to have a more difficult conversation about Caleb's behavior later in the year, his parents will remember the previous calls and messages that you gave them and realize that you are seeing the good in him too. Partnering with parents has always been very important to me in education, especially as a mom of a special needs child!

communicate the positive things to parents

3. Pick a Communication Method and Stick With it

I don't know about you but there have been some years in my teaching career when I have changed things…a lot. I'm not saying that change is necessarily bad, however, consistency is sometimes better. Whatever method of communication you tell your families you are going to use, be consistent with it. If you said you will update them on behavior on the Class Dojo app every day, make sure you do. If you said you will email them a newsletter every Friday, make sure you do. This will start to become routine for them and then they will know to look for it. If sometimes you send the newsletter on Mondays and sometimes you send it on Fridays, they may miss something because it's not part of a routine. I have found this out the hard way and being a parent of multiple children in school now, I realize just how important this is!

What kinds of things do you do to have effective communication with parents in education?

I am a High School, self-contained Autism teacher from Central New York, who is passionate about individualizing student learning. I am a mommy of three, lover of all things Disney, married to my best friend and addicted to chocolate!! I hope that you find great ideas and inspiration here, so welcome!!

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