Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Dear New Teacher and New School District

I was asked to participate in writing a letter to the new teacher from Homestyle Mama (with a side of autism).  One of the GJOP readers, Karen Williams, shared her letter that she wrote to her son's new teachers when he entered 7th grade.  It was a very thorough, well thought out letter. 
We have a unique situation this year and that is not only does he get a new teacher but we are enrolling him into a new school district.  My son actually picked out our new house...believe it or not before it was even on the market.
We will be meeting with the school this Friday to register both children and we have copies of the IEP and progress report in hand.  Also our BSC will be accompanying us and will be acting as our advocate on behalf of my son.  We are going to ask for a totally different placement for him and believe me, I'm nervous about it. 
New school district = new start for him.
So, I will not be writing a letter and sending it to them instead I will be sitting face to face with all the people involved.  With my husband and our BSC at my side, I will feel stronger to ask for what is best for our son.  I'm planning on telling them some of my son's strengths. 
His strengths are:
  • He is very creative
  • Wants to make friends
  • Asks all the time, "What does that say?"  He wants to read.
  • Has empathy for others
  • Loves to be a part of something or included in groups
  • He enjoys computers and is currently learning how to keyboard
  • Awesome gross motor skills...boy is he fast!
  • He will eat all types of foods and loves to cook...measuring = math skills
  • Looks forward to helping others.  etc. handing out papers, copy machine, collecting work
He needs help in these areas:
  • Sensory breaks are important for him so he can remain on task
  • Paying attention during non preferred activities
  • He wants to contribute during conversations but has difficulty expressing what is inside his head or speaks too fast for others to understand
  • He is easily distracted
  • He doesn't like to write
  • The lessons need to be tweaked so he can understand the information
As a family unit, we are committed to him in getting all the help he needs.  He receives speech, OT, BSC and TSS services outside of school and this year we will be putting him in an after school program with typical kids.  He will receive TSS support in that activity to help him cope with learning how to be social with the other children. 
All we ask is you give him a chance.  We have seen so much improvement every year with him and he is a hard worker. We, as a family, will do whatever it takes to see him thrive and we are depending on you to provide him an education.  Not an education that sends him to a room where he doesn't get to interact with his peers, because he is capable of this.  He can do more than write his name.  He wants to learn.  He just learns differently.  We chose you, new school district, because of other parents who highly recommended you because of your inclusion philosophy with autistic children.  We uprooted the entire family, spent months looking for a new home, went through all this expense and stress to come to you.  Please don't take this wrong but I won't be handing you my son and walking away.  I will most certainly be constantly checking on his progress.  I want a daily communication log with his teachers and will be reading it every single day.  This is how I start circles of communication with him.  I will be putting your phone numbers in my phone and if there are any problems, count on a call from me.  I am not afraid to open up the IEP at anytime and I am not afraid to go to the top.  Now, with that said, I look forward to our school relationship with you.  Let's get started.

1 comment:

  1. Nice!! It is always nice to get a fresh start. I do the letter and the face to face meeting with the new teacher before school starts. I am very involved! Even with my NT teen daughter, as soon as I know what teachers she will be having, I send an email introducing myself and offering assistance in any way they may need during the year. I have found that most teachers are very receptive to having involved parents especially if it makes their job a little easier.