Communicating with Your Team
Parenting A Child With Special Needs, Continued
Your child has a huge team supporting them – medical professionals, therapists, as well as teachers and caregivers. For a team to function, everyone has to be on the same page. As a parent, you are right in the center of this team facilitating communication.
Don’t be shy about educating the team about your child. Yes, even medical professionals need to know your child. There’s such a broad spectrum of abilities under a single diagnosis. You also cannot assume that teachers and other education professionals know about your child’s condition. They may have very limited knowledge and an internet search is likely to provide the worse-case scenario (any parent knows Dr. Google can be pretty nasty).
Go ahead and print out your favorite handout with a balanced perspective explaining your child’s condition. Call a meeting and have a very honest chat about your child’s daily habits and self-care. I remember a meeting I had with one of my daughter’s first teachers. We were discussing gross motor skills and assessments for academic readiness. I said, “This is great. Can we talk about her socks?” My daughter’s sweaty socks had to be changed once a day or she was at risk of skin breakdown - open sores she could not detect due to nerve damage. Sometimes you have to focus on the little things and communicate about them clearly because they actually have a big impact on the quality of life for your special needs child. I also have a one-pager that lists subtle things or seemingly normal kid quirks that actually could be signs of a big problem for her (like her brain shunt malfunctioning). This is a super helpful guide for any teacher or caregiver.