A perspective on the world of disability from a mother and an educator. Follow my blog!

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Children don't come with instructions....

.......so I decided to write some!

At the end of last year we found out who our two big girls would have as their teachers for 2015. I was delighted to find out that they were in fact just swapping teachers! Imogen has had her teacher for 2 years and I knew Stella's teacher from my old Education Queensland days so I was thrilled that with them swapping teachers as the teachers both already know our back story.

Imogen's teacher for those two years went above and beyond so many times. She listened when we explained things, she asked questions seeking to clarify. She sought new strategies and checked in with us after trips to the specialist. We spent two years with her, slowly learning about Imogen and how she ticks.

It dawned on me the other day, that while Imogen's teacher for this year knows us and our family, the intricate details of how Imogen ticks, and how her body works, and how the comorbidity of Down syndrome and Graves disease impacts on her daily life, are not yet known to her.

There is a lot to know really, a lot to take in, and a lot to implement.

Executive Functioning
Emotional Resilience
Graves Disease
Take Up Time

I know that some of these are covered in her IEP, but not in any great depth and not in a way that gives a holistic impression of the complex being that is Imogen.  Add to this list that I have just today found out that the eye 'wobble' I've been noticing is indicative of a whole lot of 'other' brain functioning that I now need to consider - particularly with regards to how she learns.  Honestly, with a list that long (and I know other people have longer lists) it's a blessing beyond measure that Imogen is as incredible as she is.

So, how does a mother impart this information on to a new teacher? I had to only think of it in terms of me as a teacher, as a special education specialist, and how I would want to receive that information.  Would I want to be bombarded by that in the first week of school by a crazed parent micromanaging their child? 

In short - yes. Absolutely. To give piece of mind to the parent and to reduce any lag time in getting to know the child. To maximise the learning outcomes for the child, and to make learning as engaging as possible. It certainly helps that only two days ago I had a parent of a child I teach do exactly the same thing. They brought in multiple print outs to help me understand their child, and to allay their own anxieties.

With that answer in mind I have written a manual for my own child. Those pages should explain as much as I know about my child, to help her new teacher understand how that amazing brain works and why her body doesn't work so well. I worry that I am just going to be seen as 'that crazy parent', but I pray that in the long run, it helps Imogen to get the best outcome.

1 comment:

  1. I think you are on to something here. Why don't we parents provide a bio to our child's teacher each year? It would help so much! As a former teacher, I would have loved to read up on my students to know how to best start teaching from day one. I think all teachers could benefit. You are a strong and amazing advocate for your child!