How we approach communication between school and home can often impact on an autistic child or young person’s success at school.
So how do we create communication that is open and positive, and how do we work to repair any tensions in communication that might already be there? Here are a couple of our favourite tried and tested suggestions:
Keep an open mind
We all have mishaps at times and we all forget things at times. If difficulties from the past are making it hard to move forward with open communication, perhaps look at ways to change things up a bit or be open to suggestions of ways to make it better.
Set up clear open communication channels
Make sure that everyone has access to a way of communicating that works best for them – this means that we commit to having both parents and teachers involved in the communication process and we make communication as easy and simple as possible. There’s no point in making email the main method of communication if either parent or teacher doesn’t have regular access to email or forgets to check it, just as there’s no point in making a written letter the main method of communication if the message will be out of date by the time it’s received. Find a way that works for everyone!
Discuss and agree on the ‘need to know’ things
Set the expectation between parents and teachers (and other support people) of what information should be communicated and when this will happen. If you do this, it will lessen the chance of things slipping through without being talked about – it helps keep us all on track and accountable.
Keep language positive
Avoid falling into the trap of only reporting negative information about the student without ideas or solutions to help. And if you’re not sure of ways that might help to improve things for the student, ask each other for ideas as well! Teachers, you might be surprised at the gems of information that parents can provide you, and parents, your child’s teacher may just have a suggestion that you haven’t yet thought of.
Keep a balance on positive and negative
It’s so easy for us to fall into the habit of only communicating the challenging or difficult things, but good things should be communicated about too! And the more good that IS communicated, the easier it will be to have the discussions about the difficult moments – the goodwill to work together will have been established and will help towards making communication so much easier for all!
You can watch the video HERE