SPED 421, Fall 2016 Forum 4
Read Edwards,C., and D Fonte, A (2012). In “Teaching Exceptional Children” “The 5-point plan: Fostering successful partnerships with families of students with disabilities: in Teaching Exceptional Children: 44(3) 6-13
Write and submit your reflection.
There are 5 points in this article, which make a lot of sense and are practical as a resource in working with the families of a student with a disability.
Point 1 Be positive, Proactive, solution oriented.
Point 2 Respect families roles and cultural backgrounds in their childrens lives.
Point 3 Communicate consistently, listen to families concerns and work together.
Point 4 Consider simple, natural supports that meet individuals needs of students.
Point 5 Empower families with knowledge and opportunities for involvement in the context of students global needs.
“Point 1: Be positive, proactive, and solution oriented. • Send home a concise, easy-to-read description of your classroom expectations at the beginning of the year. List some of the potential consequences for meeting or not meeting expectations (e.g., reinforcers and punishers). • Call families during the first week of school to share at least one positive thing their child has done at school. • Share three positive comments about students for every one negative comment. • Make a regular homework schedule, so families know what to expect each night and can set up a routine (e.g., 20 minutes of reading per night + math worksheet on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and spelling on Tuesdays and Thursdays). Then, send home a description of your homework policy and schedule. • Ask families to sign and return cover sheet on the items above, so you know they have received them. • Send home clear directions with homework assignments instead of relying on students to remember directions you gave during class. • Research specific disabilities of students in your class, while keeping in mind the fact that all students, even those who have the same disability, are unique. • When discussing problems through notes or phone, always present ideas for possible solutions (e.g., “Tomorrow, we are going to try to be more successful” (https://www.iidc.indiana.edu/styles/iidc/defiles/instrc/fostering_partnerships.pdf) (Downloaded 9/12/2016)
In being proactive the teacher will want to gain insight from the family into their child’s strengths, areas of need and what has worked in the past for their child.
Point 2 Reflections:
“• Ask families (in person or through questionnaire) for information regarding their children (e.g., likes, dislikes, accomplishments, struggles, strategies that have worked in the past). Do this at the beginning of each year and whenever a new student is placed in your classroom or on your caseload. • Ask families if there is any disability-specific information they would like to share with you or any information sources they would recommend, so that you can gain more knowledge about their child’s disability. • Ask families about any accommodations they make for their student at home that they are comfortable sharing and that may be helpful at school. • Give families the choice of whether or not to be involved in drafting goals and services. If they choose not to, respect their decision and always review all goals and services with them after they have been drafted. • Discuss or ask for information regarding the student’s total needs (e.g., social, behavioral, academic, health), rather than focusing only on academic needs. • Ask families if they would like an interpreter at meetings, if applicable, and remind them they are welcome to invite another family member or friend who could interpret as needed. • Attend a community event or activity in which the family participates to get to know them better and demonstrate your commitment to their child. • Ask families if there is anything they would like you to know about themselves or their family that may help you better serve their child.” https://www.iidc.indiana.edu/styles/iidc/defiles/instrc/fostering_partnerships.pdf (9/12/2016)
My reflection of point 2: Being a teacher to a child with a disability is being a different role model in that student’s life. Since families are so connected to their child, and even more so, to a child with a disability, the family has an ability to perceive their child’s needs.
“Point 3 ! Communicate consistently, listen to parent’s concerns, and work together. • Keep families informed regarding performance and progress on evaluations. These assessments can take a long time, and families may appreciate hearing occasional updates, so they know the process is moving forward. • If there are delays in testing and implementation of new services, develop an action plan for addressing problems until the situation is resolved. Communicate this action plan to families. • Talk about the student without referring to their disability or label unless necessary. • Cive families a schedule of when you are available for phone conferences and your policy on returning communication (e.g., 36 hours for phone calls and e-mails, 1 school day for notes). • Ask families if they would like to set up a communication schedule (e.g., lO-minute phone call on Thursday afternoons, e-mails on Fridays summing up the week’s accomplishments). If you set up a schedule, make sure to stick to it to help families maintain their trust in you. • Contact families about concerns as soon as they arise. Write out the information you plan to share ahead of time, so you are sure to cover all important points. • Talk with each student’s general education teacher and special area teachers as frequently as possible. This will ensure you are giving the families consistent information and reports on progress. It may help to set up a weekly 15- to 20-minute appointment with general education teachers and monthly appointment with special area teachers. • Talk to families about ideas for home-school connections for the student (e.g., mutual communication through home-school folder, use of teacher web page on district site, or parent reports of success at home or photos or pictures of family activities to be shared during morning meeting). “ https://www.iidc.indiana.edu/styles/iidc/defiles/instrc/fostering_partnerships.pdf (9/12/2016)
My reflection of point 3: The families of students with a disability need consistent information regarding their child’s performance at school. This helps to relieve stress they may feel over their child’s struggles, and alleviates distrust with the school personnel or the teacher. Communicating with the family about their child’s behavior and academic behavior, builds trust with the family.
“Point 4: Consider simple, natural supports that meet individual needs of students. • Ask families what supports they use at home with students and how students respond to these supports. • Discuss accommodations and modifications you are considering using with families. Families may not agree with certain supports you are trying to provide and may not support them as readily at home. Ask families to share any concerns they have before implementation. • Be flexible in managing behavior and be prepared to implement individualized strategies in your classroom. Communicate strategies to families and explain why you believe they will be beneficial. Ask families for input on strategies and share any concerns they may have about behavior plans before implementation. • Be flexible in changing accommodations, modifications, and strategies as needed. Communicate to families the changes and the reasons for changes. • Avoid using generalizations as explanations for behavior (e.g., “I have boys. I know what they’re like” or “All middle schoolers act like this”). Instead, state specific behaviors and the functions they appear to serve (e.g., “He has been making inappropriate comments in class. When he does, all the kids laugh and he smiles. It seems like he’s doing this to get their attention”). • Ask families if they are in need of supports at home and if there is any information or suggestions you could provide that may help. Offer more extensive, specific advice only when solicited and ask for feedback on atiy suggestions given. Take this feedback into consideration before offering more suggestions. • If families need more information on how to find cost-effective services or get funding, with their permission, put them in touch with the school’s social worker or give them contact information for relevant local services. dren’s needs (Keller & Honig, 2004). When families do locate adequate programs, accessing funds often becomes the next obstacle, especially when families seek supports such as respite services (Agosta & Melda, 1995; Resch et al., 2010). To this end, you can step out of the traditional, classroom-based role and provide families with information on available services, sources of funding, and ideas for how to access both. Of course, you must clearly state that you cannot promise procurement of funds or services; providing this valuable information can help build a relationship families view as collaborative and beneficial outside of the school context. You can find this information through a variety of avenues, including speaking to colleagues at their school, collaborating with school-based career or guidance” https://www.iidc.indiana.edu/styles/iidc/defiles/instrc/fostering_partnerships.pdf (9/12/2016)
My reflection of point 4 is the biggest thing here is to be flexible with rules, roles, and anything rigid, have a go along attitude for working with the parent and the student, and let see how everything works out because being too lenient, or giving in too much, can cause problems. If the student has Autism, this system, probably will not work, as the student will need the direction to retrain obsessive thinking over a situation or school work issue they are working on. However, the student with Autism, likes routines, and will respond well, mostly, to any routine, in any situation because they know what to expect.
“Point 5: Empower families with knowledge and opportunities for involvement in the context of students’ global needs. • Create a packet of information on local services for people with disabilities, as well as inclusive community agencies and activities. Indicate the disability groups and ages each resource serves. Some families may appreciate the entire packet, whereas others might want information specific to their children’s age or disabilities. • Give information on cost of services in the packet. Include details on how to find cost-effective services or funding for students with disabilities to participate in services or activities. • Provide information on local support groups for families of students with disabilities through which they may gain information and strategies for supporting their child. • Provide families with frequent opportunities to make choices about their children’s education (e.g., subject areas to focus on with homework, types of homework that work best for the family, individualized reinforcers to provide that match child preferences). • Ask families to share what types of information about their student they find most valuable. Share this information whenever possible. • Offer parent trainings and education nights to address specific concerns shared by families (e.g., managing behavior at home, providing summer activities, working on academics over breaks). • Encourage school and community organizations to involve and support students with disabilities (e.g., talk to high school or local sports teams’ booster clubs about providing seating for people with physical disabilities, offer training to local day cares and after-school programs on supporting children with disabilities and behavior problems.” https://www.iidc.indiana.edu/styles/iidc/defiles/instrc/fostering_partnerships.pdf (9/12/2016)
My reflection of point 5: The teacher, by being a resource, a different role model for the child with a disability, this empowers the families, to learn new skills for building up their own child with a disability. The teacher will bring skill, and a partnership with compassion and teacher training to give to the families of their child with a disability. Furthermore, the teacher is a valuable resource to the community and the families of a student/child with a disability.