Article by Stephanie Ekis, MS, CCC-SLP
As a parent, there are many things that you can do to support your child’s participation and learning in the classroom. Being an active participant in your child’s education is essential to their success. Use the tips below to start thinking about ways that you can become involved in your child’s education.
Tip 1: Keep the lines of communication open between home and school.
Teaching is not the sole responsibility of the school. Communicating with the teacher is one way to help your child be successful. Find a method of communication that works best for you and your child’s school. Some people use a notebook and send it back and forth from home to school in the child’s backpack. With advancements in technology, it might be easier to keep in touch via social media, school websites and email.
Tip 2: Carry-over learning at home.
Ask your child’s teacher which skills and activities could be carried over at home. Ask that they teach you the strategies that they are using in the classroom. If you work together as a team, your child is more likely to learn and generalize skills.
Tip 3: Learn your child’s communication system.
If your child is using an augmentative communication system (e.g., communication book, Xpress, etc.), make sure that you are knowledgeable regarding the location of the vocabulary and how to use it with your child. School staff may also need to rely on you to add the necessary vocabulary needed for classroom learning activities. Also, ask to be invited to all device trainings so that you can be well versed with the system operation.
Tip 4: Talk about school. Talk about home.
Give your child the opportunity to talk about school and home. If your child is using a DynaVox V+, Maestro or Xpress device, the News for Home/News for School pages will allow your child to easily share information about the school day with you and share information about events at home with school staff and friends.
If your child is not using a voice output communication device, you can replicate this same strategy in low-tech paper form.
Tip 5: Support literacy learning at home.
The ability to read and write is one of the most important skills your child will learn in school. Ask your teacher if you can have access to some of the same reading materials that they are using at school. Make sure that your child has access to a wide variety of reading materials in the home. Model reading (e.g., reading a recipe out loud while pointing to the words) and writing (e.g., writing a note to your spouse reminding them of something) so that your child will understand the importance literacy.