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Working with the Mainstream Teacher

By: Stephanie Miller

The relationship between a parent of a student with learning difficulties and the child's mainstream teacher is an important one. With the trend toward placing students in the general population, how well parents and teachers understand each other's goals-and whether the child receives remedial help outside the regular classroom-have considerable impact on the child's success. An ongoing effort to involve the teacher in a supportive, rather than an adversarial relationship can be useful in improving your child's experience in the classroom. The following can help facilitate the process:

  • It is important that you have regular meetings with your child's teachers. A "How can I help my child" approach on your part keeps communication channels open.
  • You need to convey to the teacher that you understand the difficulty in concentrating on a particular student in a classroom-but that it is critically important for your child to get the intervention and support that will allow him to learn.
  • The teacher may need to be reminded that a reading problem also causes difficulty in other areas, such as spelling, writing and taking notes, and that your child in fact needs to work much harder than others at many of these tasks.
  • Discuss the importance of praising students with LD in areas where they show strengths. Involve the teacher in coming up with some creative ideas.
  • Offer to work out a system for breaking down assignments so that students can understand what they need to do. Most teachers are happy to involve you in working out a checklist that will help keep you, as well as your child aware and informed.

The key to success is to work together. Good communication and mutual respect go a long way toward helping a student succeed.

Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Vol. 1, N.4 Reprinted with permission