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What to Expect In Parent Teacher Conferences for Special Needs Children

It’s that time of year when schools open their doors to parents for Parent Teacher Conferences.
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Even if you have had an IEP within the past few months, it is still beneficial for you to meet with the teacher and therapists.  It’s different than an IEP in that they can sit down and go over what they have actually been working on in the classroom versus just hearing about goals.  If there are any issues that you see on your end as a parent, this is the time to bring it up and explore options to take care of it.

When you speak with the therapists, ask them what specific techniques they are using to work with your child and what you can do at home to help them improve.  If you are an engaged parent, you can take those ideas and work with your child at home.  If your school uses special equipment or special technology, check out what your options are to obtain it or borrow it if it is available through the library.

If you live in Phoenix and you have a current IEP, you can go to the public library downtown and borrow various therapy toys and tools to use with your child during the summer or during the year.  There is no limit as to how many times you can check things out.  If you go once to the main library and create a list of items you want to request, then you can request them through your closest library instead of having to go there every time.  This is a great benefit for you to be able to utilize some of the same tools the therapists use without having to purchase everything.

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Another way to acquire needed therapy items is to ask the therapist if there are other low cost solutions available or suggestions where to purchase these items.  Sometimes they might know where you can get some of these items.  If your employer offers programs that provide discounts for computers or other types of discounts, you should explore these options to keep your costs down.  Sometimes it’s as simple as purchasing special tweezers that is available in the toy section that lights up but it helps their pincher grasp when they grab worms with it.  Be creative and ask for suggestions.  Therapists and teachers want to help your child and their training can be useful to you to gain knowledge to help you help your child.

Most teachers will also share specific examples of your child’s work.  If they use websites that have some of this curriculum on it, find out what they are and use them as well.  The more practice and guidance they receive from you, the faster they will pick up skills.  Crayola has a wonderful website that allows teachers, parents and kids to print various types of studies.  This is just one particular website that is a perfect place to start.  I use it a lot to print coloring pages for holidays and various specific topics.

Parent Teacher Conferences are not something you should dread.  Instead, use the time to find out how your child is doing and request the help that you need so your child can succeed in school.   It’s so worth it!


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