Throughout your journey with your child, you will have many educators come in and our of your life. If you child has autism or has special needs, you likely have many Educators in your life- teachers, therapists, etc. All of these people have specifically chosen a profession that doesn’t make them rich, but gives them the opportunity to make a difference. All of the professionals have invested in an education, studied current trends, and are trained to help kids with autism. USE THEIR EXPERTISE! Take full advantage of what they know and what they have experienced. Ask lots, and lots of questions. Below you will find five key questions to ask. Ask these questions often!
5 Questions to Ask your Educator
1. Ask for specific ways you can help your child academically.
If you are struggling with a particular academic task at home, call the teacher or write a note to try and make a plan together. Often times teachers use specific methods to teaching a new skill. Your teacher can guide you through these methods.
2. Ask if there are new skills they are doing at school.
Many students will not naturally generalize skills from school to home (and vise versa). This means that they may do certain skills in one environment but do not show that ability in another environment. You might be amazed at how independent your child is at school, that if given an opportunity and guidance, could do the same things at home. Similarly, your child's teacher might be amazed at what he can do at home that he is not yet doing at school.
3. Ask if there are rewards your child will work for at school.
Many times teacher use a variety of rewards- this could be fruit snacks, playing with trains, or iPad time. If it works at school, you could also use similar rewards at home. You can use these tangible items or activities to reward positive behavior.
4. Askhow you can enhance your child’s language skills at home.
If your child uses adevice at school, ask if you can use it at home. Then make sure you use it. If your child is using pictures at school, incorporate using pictures at home. You can even have siblings use pictures or signs to communicate to model effective use of these communication methods. If your child is working on “wh” questions, new vocabulary words, or specific articulation exercises, work on these things at home as well. The more exposures, the better.
5. Ask how to build social skills.
A school environment is very different than a home environment. Your child is likely to have different types of social interactions at school than home. Your educator may be working on board games and learning the concept of loosing. Your child might be learning how to ask a friend to play with them. Specifically ask how you can build social skills at home.
I believe with all my heart that God specifically places people into our lives with intention, not by fate or by chance. Take advantage of the expertise of the people that love and support your child. We are all in this together. When educators and parents work together to support the child, we can effectively support the child and make a maximum impact.
Next blog: How to Use Pictures for Communication at Home