Easing the Transition to a New Grade/Teacher – A Resource

I found this letter online last year and thought it was a wonderful resource. I sent it to a retired teacher friend (35 years of 3rd grade), who thought it was fantastic and wished it was something every parent would do. I put it together for my son and sent it in to his new teacher, as well as his speech and OT providers at the school. They appreciated it very much. His teacher, who had not had much experience with a student on the spectrum, told me it helped her a lot – especially with the eye-contact “thing”. Because she had and read this, she took the time to really watch when he didn’t appear to be listening. She saw that though the eye contact/APPEARANCE of attention wasn’t there, that the attention was. It really helped. I hope it can help others.

The original looks to be written by the parent, from the perspective of the child. I’ve edited it to differentiate MY observations of how my child responds from my son’s direct input and advocacy.  The top section can be personalized to add the child’s input, or to replace the parent’s observations with the child as they become more adept at communicating and advocating for themselves.

I have learned and believe it is best to separate out these perspectives – I can advocate for my child, but he has his own voice. I can’t speak for his experience directly, only my observations.

****************************************************

A Letter To TheTeacher – 15 Things About My Child

Hell0 Teacher,

My name is _________________________________and my child is in your class this year. I want you to know a little about ___, as ____ might be nervous to be in your class because it’s new and ____ won’t know what to expect.

____  will need some time to adjust to feel comfortable. Please don’t judge ___ on the first few weeks. As the time goes by, you will be amazed by the skills you never thought ___ possessed.

___ sometimes look like ___ doesn’t understand. That’s just because ___ doesn’t always have the same expressions and reactions as other people. ___ might not look at you when you talk but that doesn’t mean ___ didn’t hear you. ___ did. In fact ___ usually hears more than most people.

As ___ becomes familiar with your classroom, ___ will begin to shine. A great way to speed up this process is letting ___ know what to expect. Written or picture schedules for the day reduce anxiety. A five minute warning before a change of activity can help greatly too. You are the teacher and ___ looks up to you. ___ wants to succeed this year but can’t do it without your help and most importantly, your belief  that ___ can do it!
1. What is ___ general disposition?

2. What is ___ really, really good at?

3. What does absolutely LOVE doing?

4. What does absolutely HATE doing?

5. What academics are ___ strong areas?

6. What academics does ___ need a lot of extra help with?

7. Which skills would we as parents really like to work on with ___  this year?

8. How do you know when ___ is getting frustrated?

9. What can you do help ___ manage the stress before the storm hits?

10. Too late! The storm hit! What can you do to help ___ find calm?

11. What strategies work really well to help ___ to do something that needs to be done?

12. What typically makes ___ laugh?

13. What consequences back-fire and don’t give the desired results?

14. ___ doesn’t like consequences, but which consequences work well for ___ ?

15. I would also like you to know…

 

My child is different. He is on his own mission. I’m happy to be by his side. I am thrilled when he learns something new, no matter how small. I am proud when he accomplishes something I once never thought possible. I take delight in his idiosyncrasies. Please rejoice with me. Please notice his worth.

My child faces judgment at every turn. I invite you to stand apart! Stand strong with us! Unique is good! Let’s tell the world! Help me instill pride in my son. Show him his greatness. Try and see his perspective. Praise him as much as you can. By doing so, you improve my child’s life and build his confidence. You will motivate and inspire him. He will exceed your expectations and I will be eternally grateful to you.

– By Jene Aviram
This article is property of and copyright © 2003-2007 Jene Aviram of Natural Learning Concepts. Reference of this article may only be included in your documentation provided that reference is made to the owner – Jene Aviram and a reference to this site http://www.nlconcepts.com/

 

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3 thoughts on “Easing the Transition to a New Grade/Teacher – A Resource

  1. Reblogged this on Spectrum Perspectives and commented:
    Every little bit helps when your child is starting a new grade. For a special needs child, it’s that much more important to build a good relationship and equip the teacher with information and support. This link is a helpful tool for any parent.

  2. This is a terrific personalized approach – I love it!

    We also have that our son meets with his next-year teacher prior to the end of the current school year, at least 3 times, including seeing the teacher’s classroom. This helps him with his anxiety and begins the relationship-development. Your resource would add to that!

    I also have some questions I like to ask, based on a couple of years’ experience of meeting new teachers: http://blog.autism-mom.com/2014/05/24/questions-to-ask-his-next-teacher.aspx

    • Thanks! I’ll check that out 🙂 My guy doesn’t have too much anxiety, so a new teacher doesn’t throw him off too much. But I know he’s just “quirky” enough that things could start off bumpy without a heads-up from me and his team.

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