Parents should always be partners with their child’s teacher, and it is especially important when your child is on the autism spectrum. For these children, desirable behavior is more likely to be repeated when parents and teachers consistently use the same phrases and expect certain behaviors both at home and at school.
A skeptical parent could brush off this advice, suggesting it is easier said than done. Trident Academy faculty would disagree.
Teachers in The School for Asperger’s/HFA at Trident Academy are committed to educating parents on what happens during the school day, often through social stories. A social story is a visual or written guide to help children better understand a skill, situation, or social interaction. Each week, students take home a social story book to help facilitate conversations with their family. A recent example included pictures and stories about other students in the program; families could talk with their child about their classmates. This exercise helped the children both with generalization and with talking to their parents about friends at school.
“We host parent support group meetings as another way to keep communication open between school and home,” explains Nicole McLain, Director of the School for Asperger’s/HFA. “A recent meeting focused on undesirable behaviors like eloping, hygiene skills, and hitting siblings.” It is also not uncommon for Trident Academy teachers to text with parents throughout the day, sharing pictures or stories to help strengthen the parent-teacher relationship.
What if your child doesn’t attend Trident Academy?
Daily communication with your child’s teacher is just as important, as is knowing the teacher’s goals for your child. Are the goals appropriate for your child? If not, discuss this with the teacher to avoid unreasonable expectations. An IEP should accurately reflect your child’s abilities and the objectives must be specific and measurable. Parents’ advocacy for their children and request for changes that reflect their child’s abilities are important. The IEP process can often intimidate parents, but it is imperative that parents remember that they are their child’s first advocate.
Consistency is the key at home and at school.
The School for Asperger’s/HFA at Trident Academy is built on ABA therapy approaches. At its core, ABA therapy consistently implements positive reinforcement strategies to achieve appropriate behavior. The consistency of such strategies at home and at school are vital to the students’ growth. Teachers collect data daily about students’ habits and behaviors, and they ask families to do the same at home. Collecting the same data at home and at school can help explain why a child is having difficulties in a particular area.
To learn more about ABA therapy, plan to attend the Tuesdays at Trident Academy seminar on Tuesday, January 14 at 6:00 p.m. This event will feature four ABA experts who will further explain ABA therapy and the typical results found within the classroom and at home. The event is free to attend and childcare will be provided. For more information, contact Niki Leiva at firstname.lastname@example.org.