Starting off the School Year Right: Should you tell your child’s teacher about his/ her delays or any therapy received?
“Sarah was a bright child, tons of friends but she simply couldn’t sit still in class. After undergoing a thorough evaluation in second grade, she began receiving Occupational Therapy twice a week to work on her sensory processing. She was making great progress and her concentration was slowly improving. At the start of third grade, her mother had a dilemma- should she share with Sarah’s teacher or let her have a fresh start.”
What an overwhelming dilemma Sarah’s mother had, one shared by most mothers each year. On the one hand, you want your teacher to be fully up to speed on your child’s development while at the same time you want to give your child a fresh start. Obviously the proper response takes thought to determine what is right for your child based on their individual needs and the nature of their challenges.
Functional Limitations and Skills
The deciding factor really is- can the teacher set up any accommodations from the beginning that will support your child’s success. If yes, you don’t want to delay in getting that started…
Take Sarah, her second grade teacher had moved her to the front of the classroom and allowed her to take a quick run in the hall when she needed a breather. These modifications went a long way in setting her up to succeed.
If you haven’t tried any of these adjustments the year before, give it some time.
Allow teachers to get to know your child without preconceived notions allowing them to use their own arsenal of tools to support the class. Your child has grown and is now in a new environment, there may have been a trigger last year that won’t present in their new setting.
After a few weeks, you may want to check in with the teacher by lightly asking about your child’s specific issue to see where the teacher stands. It’s best to always hear out the teacher and give off a feeling of collaboration vs. defensiveness. Teachers usually have valuable suggestions as they have a completely unique viewpoint from seeing your child in a classroom/recess setting.
If a child has a delay related to speech or articulation the teacher will be able to pick up on it immediately. It’s important to alert your child’s teacher to a language processing delay as your child will benefit tremendously from special arrangements. The teacher will then know that your child needs a few minutes to think of a response and can’t be asked one question after another.
If the teacher asks the class for a few answers, the teacher will want to call on your child first as they won’t be able to quickly come up with another answer if a peer answers before them.
A child with a language processing delay cannot answer questions while performing another task. For example they won’t be able to process new information while coloring or filling out a worksheet and accommodations should be made accordingly. Your child will also benefit tremendously from sitting in the front of the classroom so there are less distractions.
As with everything, you are your child’s best advocate and can empower your child’s teacher to teach them in the best way possible.
The Therapy Place is here to help you in any way they can, please feel free to reach out to our friendly office at (732)813-4263 if we can help you in any way.
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