Distance learning had a different impact on every child during the pandemic: some students thrived, while others struggled or even regressed while they were not in the classroom. However, one report indicates that this new method of learning may have created a permanent benefit for both parents and students: new communication strategies and methods of communication between parents and educators/individualized education plan (IEP) teams.
Improving communication – and advocacy
Virtual learning forced California educators, families, and students with disabilities to make considerable changes when it came to academics. However, a recent report also found that it also significantly improved communication between parents and educators. For example:
- Virtual learning gave parents direct access to the classroom and their child’s learning
- Text messages became more commonly used, drastically changing communication between parents and teachers and allowing issues and concerns to be discussed in a more direct and prompt manner.
Generally, stronger communication creates a stronger partnership, and the relationship between parents and teachers seems to be no exception. This report also states that the change to virtual learning facilitated a means for parents to become better advocates for their child’s education and individual needs.
Although the aforementioned report regarding virtual learning did highlight some of the challenges that students with special education experienced, many changes regarding new methods of communication between teachers and parents could have a positive impact on the future of special education.
How can you communicate with the IEP team more effectively?
Communicating with your child’s IEP team is essential to keep you in the loop regarding your child’s education. It is also an important factor to ensure that your child’s IEP is meeting their needs. Here are a few tips to improve your communication with your child’s IEP team:
- Research information about your child’s diagnosis and your rights so you can feel confident discussing their needs
- Exchange contact information with every member of your child’s education team
- Utilize the contact information when needed, but make sure to remain professional
- Cultivate a working relationship with your child’s teacher
- Keep records and/or notes of all communication
Above all, it is critical for parents to remember that they are an important member of the IEP team as well. Parents should not be afraid to speak up in meetings or bring their concerns to the rest of the IEP team; after all, they know their child best.