How is it that summer can go from feeling so long and daunting to being almost gone?! Teacher friends are already heading back to the classroom to begin putting the rooms together- and that means the start of school is just around the corner.
In today's Tool Box Tuesday- a creative way to introduce yourself and your family to your child's new or even re-introduce to an old team. I wish I could remember who to give credit for for the idea- as it certainly isn't mine, but has been bouncing around in special education circles for as long as I can remember.
We know we all want the very best for our kids- and for the best to start day one, not week three. One way to start on the best foot possible is to introduce your kiddo to your team... in a fun and creative way. IEPs are filled with details and information, but no one would mistake them for a good fun read that gives you a personalized flavor of a child and family.
Consider writing a letter to child's team, from your child's point of view. Depending on the current abilities of your child, they might also participate. Fill the letter with important details about your child that someone who knew him/her would know and that would make your child feel more comfortable in their class and in their relationship with their new team. Favorite color, food, memory. Favorite things to talk about. Sensory things to avoid or increase. Signs that he/she is feeling really comfortable or distressed. Communication strengths. Here is an example-
Dear Miss Smith,
My name is John. I am really excited, and kind of nervous to be starting 1st grade. I look forward to getting to know you - here is a little about me.
-My favorite color is green. When given a choice, it's usually the color I pick and it makes me feel really good. I color with green a lot.
-You'll know I'm feeling really happy and comfortable when my body is moving slow and my hands are calm. If you see me start to move fast, it usually means I need a break. A quick shoulder rub sometimes also helps.
-I really want to make you proud and work hard. Sometimes I have trouble following when you talk. If you write it down for me it makes it much easier for me to listen. I also sometimes need a little extra time to process what you say.
I think this will be a great year and I can't wait to learn new things!
It's a great do no harm strategy in that it can be really helpful, especially at creating a collaborative relationship, and it's also not going to harm anything. While personalizing the letter about/with your child- do keep it to one page.
Next Tool Box Tuesday we'll chat about similar letters written from you, the parent.
"My approach to intervention is rooted in respect for child development and focuses on making the mundane meaningful, looking at daily interactions as opportunities for learning and growth while respecting the uniqueness of the individual and family. It’s about setting high expectations for long term quality of life and relationships for individuals on the spectrum and implementing a specific and doable plan to get there one step at a time.”
– Lauren Wilson, LCSW, RDI® Program Certified Consultant