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Navigating Parent-Teacher Conferences with Neurodivergent Kids: Tips and Questions


October 18, 2023

Parent-teacher conferences can be both exciting and nerve-wracking, especially when you're the parent of a neurodivergent child. These meetings offer a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with your child's teacher and ensure they receive the best education possible. To help you prepare and make the most of these meetings, here are some valuable tips and questions to consider.


1.   Gather Information Ahead of Time

Before the conference, try to gather as much information as possible. Review your child's recent work, progress reports, and any previous communication with the teacher. Be ready to share any relevant insights about your child's neurodiversity, such as a formal diagnosis, specific challenges, or strategies that have worked at home.


Questions you can ask:

Could you please share with me how my child is currently performing in the classroom?

Are there any specific challenges or strengths you've noticed in my child's learning style?


2.   Set Clear Goals

Discuss your expectations and goals for your child's education. Make sure you and the teacher are on the same page regarding your child's academic and social development. Be open to suggestions from the teacher, as they have valuable insights into classroom dynamics.


Questions you can ask:

What academic goals can we set for my child this year?

How can we work together to support my child's social skills development?


3.   Ask About Accommodations

Inquire about the accommodations or modifications in place for your neurodivergent child. Ensure that your child's unique learning needs are being met and discuss any changes that might be necessary to support their success.


Questions you can ask:

Can you explain the accommodations and support my child receives in the classroom?

Are there any additional accommodations that you think could benefit my child's learning experience?


4.   Discuss Communication Strategies

Effective communication is key to your child's success in the classroom. Discuss with the teacher how you can maintain an open line of communication, both in terms of progress updates and addressing any concerns.


Questions you can ask:

What is the best way to stay in touch with you throughout the school year?

How can we work together to address any challenges my child may face during the year?


5.   Collaborate on Strategies

Collaboration between parents and teachers is essential for the success of neurodivergent children. Share any strategies or resources that have worked well at home and be open to trying new approaches suggested by the teacher.


Questions you can ask:

Are there any specific strategies you recommend for helping my child succeed in your class?

How can I support what you're teaching in the classroom at home?


6.   Stay Positive and Open-Minded

Remember that the goal of the conference is to support your child's growth and development. Approach the meeting with a positive and open-minded attitude and be willing to work together with the teacher for the benefit of your child.


Questions you can ask:

How can we ensure a positive and inclusive classroom environment for my child?

What can I do as a parent to support the overall success of the class?


Remember that parent-teacher conferences are a valuable opportunity to advocate for your neurodivergent child and ensure they receive the support they need to thrive academically and socially. By preparing in advance and asking thoughtful questions, you can build a strong partnership with your child's teacher and help create a positive and inclusive learning experience.


Need more tips on how to collaborate with educators?  Check out this Diverse Thinking Different Learning podcast episode - How Parents and Educators Can Collaborate to Help Students Thrive with Shelley Lawrence

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