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Building Relationships

Following are some suggestions on how to build a strong relationship with your child's school or child care center:

Become active in school organizations. Join the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SPED PAC), or other school organizations and events. Sign up for the statewide SPED PAC listserv on the Internet. Contact your local public school Administrator of Special Education or call the Massachusetts Association of Special Education Parent Advisory Councils (MASSPAC) at 617-962-4558 to learn more. Your local SPED PAC may have a listserv that you can join, too.

Visit or talk to your child's teacher(s) and principal often. Set up regular times to talk with the teacher(s) and principal (by phone or email, if not in person). If needed, use a communication notebook that goes back and forth from home to school. You and your child's teacher can keep in touch by writing down important information in the notebook.

Give a training session to the school nurse and other school staff about your child's special needs. This will give you a chance to answer questions about your child's care needs, procedures, medication, and/or equipment.

Help organize a Disability Awareness Training at your child's school. This is a way to provide some education for other children, teachers, and parents. Encourage the school to buy special picture books, dolls, puzzles, and toys to keep in your child's classroom to teach students about disability issues.

Ask your child's teachers to suggest activities to do at home that will support and strengthen your child's progress at school.

Volunteer as a "classroom parent."

Adapted from Working Toward a Balance in Our Lives: A Booklet for Families of Children with Disabilities and Special Health Care Needs. Project School Care, Children's Hospital. Boston: Harvard University, Office of the University Publisher, 1992.

This information is provided in part by the Division of Perinatal, Early Childhood, and Special Health Needs within the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and mass.gov.

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