Most teachers have had no first-hand experience contending with the medical problems of the children they have in their classrooms. Teachers need your help to educate them about juvenile rheumatic diseases and how it affects your child. And you need their help to ensure your child has a successful school year.
Make it clear to your child’s teacher early in the year that you want to be an active participant in the child’s education and that you’re interested in being helpful. This is the cornerstone for cooperative communication.
- Set up a meeting with the teacher or counselor before school starts, if possible.
- Be organized with a folder of written communication.
- Have reasonable expectations of the teacher and the school.
- Educate teachers about the disease, medications and what problems the teacher should keep an eye out for.
- Provide educational materials from the Arthritis Foundation.
- Communicate about your child’s level of disability and her feelings about the disease.
- Suggest some simple, effective accommodations that can help your child.
- Respectfully advocate on your child’s behalf – know your child’s rights.
- Establish a communication plan to help you and the teachers keep in touch.
- Let teachers know you appreciate what they are doing.
- Remain flexible and open to adjusting your teaching strategies.
- Make modifications to the classroom environment when necessary.
- Assess how the student is physically handling the classroom and communicate with parents.
- Communicate with parents if you see the child is having social challenges.
- Be sensitive that the child might not publicly want special attention.
- Let parents know about any special services the school offers.
- Respect the confidentiality of any sensitive information parents may share.
- Ensure the parents know you are all working together for the benefit of the child.