Advocacy Series #6 Promote open, honest, and respectful communication

Transparency and honesty are essential to the IEP process. The relationship that is established between educators and parents is crucial to student success. Communication is a cornerstone to this relationship. When educators and parents are honest, open and respectful with their communication this provides optimal support for students.

I remember early on as a parent that the transparency piece was difficult for me. It was not easy for me to talk about the difficulties my son was having both at school and at home. I felt it was a reflection of myself as a mother and that if I expressed my concerns about what was going on at home the educators working with my son would think less of me. Since then I’ve learned two valuable lessons about this. 

First, I’ve learned not to worry about what others think of me. I was doing the best that I could with the skills and information I had at that time as a parent. If the educators working with my son chose to judge me rather than support me, that was something that was out of my control and I didn’t have the time to waste worrying about it. Second, I realized that when I was transparent with my concerns, more times than not, the educators provided me with suggestions and ideas for support. This of course then benefited my son both at home and at school. 

Parents it is important to remember that what goes on at home many times does impact a child’s day at school. As an educator I am always SO thankful when parents let me know about situations that may impact a student. It could be little things such as they didn’t sleep well, barely ate breakfast, or seem to be fighting a cold to big things such as a move, divorce or death in the family. So many factors can influence the success of a student and as an educator I value knowing what they are so that I can be proactive rather than reactive. 

As both an educator and a parent I believe that being open, honest and respectful is a necessity for the IEP process as a whole. Educators need to honestly and openly share information with parents about their child in a manner that respects the dignity of both the child and their family. Parents need to honestly and openly share information to educators in a manner that respects the dignity of the staff working with their child. When this occurs great things can be accomplished!

Further information in our Advocacy resources.



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