Positive Teacher/Parent Communication: Help Your Special Education Student Thrive

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Benefits of Consistent Communiciation

Children with special needs including emotional, behavioral or physical problems need to be supported and encouraged in their daily lives, both in the classroom and in the home. Special education students spend a large portion of their day with teachers and the remainder with parents or guardians. Sometimes a child experiences challenges in one of these environments that has a negative effect on their behavior in the other setting. These situations can be handled most effectively through positive teacher/parent communication where verbal and written dialogue is open and friendly.

When parents and teachers of special ed students interact only on an occasional basis, it is difficult for both parties to gain a full understanding of the issues that a child may struggle with. If the parent/teacher relationship is combative or strained, the best interests of the child may be put aside, leading to further frustrations and problems.

Parents who feel comfortable approaching teachers with any concerns about their child and his progress are likely to feel that their input is valued and respected. Likewise, teachers who are able to have open discussions with parents about the child’s welfare will not be apprehensive about asking questions or sharing observations. Consistent and healthy communication between teachers and parents will increase the likelihood of a special education student achieving overall success.

Strategies For Effective Relationships

Some of the most effective parent/teacher communication ideas involve:

  • Meeting as early as possible in the school year
  • Scheduling regualr conferences
  • Offering suggestions through verbal and written communication
  • Making contact daily during times when a student is experiencing major difficulties at home or at school

Ideally, parents and teachers should begin to establish a relationship before the child enters the classroom, with the parent providing the teacher with background information about their child’s strengths and weaknesses.

Because IEP meetings and schoolwide teacher/parent conferences traditionally only take place a few times a year, teachers may want to set aside some time once a month to have additional conferences with the parents of special education students.

Parents and teachers can regularly stay in contact through email, telephone, and written notes. Many teachers write daily reports of a child’s behavior in a log for parents to read and respond to accordingly. Parents can also offer to volunteer in the classroom as a way to become more comfortable in interacting with the teacher. One of the most important aspects of successful teacher/parent relationships is clear and productive communication with the goal of helping the child.

This type of positive communication can be further encouraged with the support of the school principal, administrators, and special education staff members.


Child Development Institute: Parenting a Child Today, at https://www.childdevelopmentinfo.com/learning/parent_teacher.shtml