Connecting & Communicating with Parents

Connecting & Communicating with Parents

Written by: Nicolette Lesniak

December 1, 2023

The relationship between teachers and parents plays a pivotal role in the success of each and every student’s learning journey; this is especially true when you are supporting and teaching students with exceptional needs. 

Effective and open communication and collaboration between teachers and parents is essential for the development and well-being of students with special needs. 

Did you know that communicating and connecting with parents who have children with diverse needs can help you build a bridge that supports learning across diverse learning environments? 

Building Trust and Understanding

When special education teachers and parents work together, they build a foundation of trust and understanding. Parents are the foremost experts on their children, and their input is invaluable. You might not always agree with what they have to say, but by taking the time to connect with your students’ parents, you will gain insights into your student’s unique strengths, challenges, and preferences, enabling you to tailor your instruction to meet a student’s unique needs and incorporate multisensory activities that they love.

“Open communication between special education teachers and parents builds trust and understanding.”

Open communication between special education teachers and parents builds trust and understanding. When you are both invested in putting the child at the center of each and every conversation, you will make sure they are reaching their goals, and both parents and teachers feel comfortable sharing their perspectives and concerns, which inturn creates a conducive environment for collaboration and more inclusive learning opportunities. 

A Holistic Approach to Education

Collaboration between teachers and parents promotes a holistic approach to education. Special education students often require customized and individualized support, and parents can provide crucial information about their child’s development, medical history, and personal interests. This comprehensive view allows special education teachers to develop individualized education plans (IEPs) that address a student’s specific needs, ensuring a well-rounded educational experience.

Having a holistic approach to education, allows both teachers and parents to view a student’s needs and preferences, ensuring that a child receives a well rounded education that aligns with both home and school goals. 

Aligning Home and School Environments

A strong partnership between teachers and parents helps align the home and school environments. The one thing I love to do is to ask a parent what is the one area in their home that their child becomes confused with. Then I ask them, what support does your child need in order for your child to not become frustrated when completing that task. The best part is that with that open communication, both the teacher and parent begin to think outside the box, and we partner to develop strategies that are used both at home and school, so the child can begin to generalize the skill. 

When both parties are on the same page regarding goals, strategies, and expectations, students with special needs experience greater consistency in their daily routines. This consistency helps minimize stress and anxiety, which can be particularly challenging.

Aligning home and school environments ensures that teachers and parents are on the same page, which is essential for creating consistency in the student’s routines and reducing stress.

Early Identification and Intervention

Regular communication with parents can help to identify issues or concerns early on. Parents often notice changes or challenges that may not be immediately apparent in the classroom or by teachers. By having open conversation about these concerns, teachers, parents and related service individuals can work together to develop strategies and interventions that address the issues promptly, preventing them from escalating.

Early identification of issues or concerns, for both teachers, parents and related service individuals as well as actively sharing observations and insights can lead the child’s team to prompt intervention.

Support for the Student’s Emotional Well-being

Students with special needs often face emotional and social challenges. Collaborating with parents ensures the child’s emotional well-being is a priority. By working together, teachers, parents, social workers and other counselors can identify stressors or triggers and collaborate together to create strategies to help a child cope effectively and generalize the skill they are learning. This not only promotes a better learning environment but also supports the child’s mental and emotional development while also creating a supportive and nurturing environment where a child begins advocating for themselves. 

Fostering a Supportive Community

Collaboration between teachers and parents fosters a supportive community. By involving parents in decision-making processes and seeking their input, teachers show they value and respect parents’ perspectives. This inclusivity not only strengthens the relationship between both teachers and parents, but also fosters a sense of belonging and shared responsibility.

Building a sense of community where parents feel included and valued encourages parents to actively participate in their child’s education and well-being.

Improved Advocacy for the Student

Effective communication and collaboration with parents empowers both teachers, parents and students to advocate for their best interests. When students and parents feel heard and valued, they are more likely to engage in the educational process and advocate for what they need to be successful within the learning environment. This advocacy can lead to improved services, resources, and accommodations.

Empowering students to advocate for themselves within their learning environment, encourages them to actively engage with others and advocate for what they need to be successful.

“In the world of special education, connecting and communicating with parents, related service providers and students is not just a good practice; it’s an essential for each and every student’s success.”

In the world of special education, connecting and communicating with parents, related service providers and students is not just a good practice; it’s an essential for each and every student’s success. 

The benefits are immeasurable and contribute to the overall well-being, development, and educational achievement of each and every student with special needs. By working hand in hand, special education teachers, related service providers and parents create a supportive and inclusive environment that places a student’s needs at the forefront, ensuring they receive the best possible education tailored to their unique abilities and challenges.

Fostering a strong, collaborative partnership, which, in turn, keeps the lines of communication open. Open and honest communication is essential for addressing the unique needs of students with special needs, and creating a supportive educational environment, where each and every child is successful. 



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  • Nicolette Lesniak

    Nicolette is an intensive needs special education teacher for Wilbur Wright Middle School. Nicolette has extensive experience in working with challenging parents and making sure there voice is being heard at the IEP table, differentiating grade level content and assessments to meet the needs of all students, using the Indiana Content Connectors to bridge the gap to grade level priority standards, and partnering with teachers and families to improve student outcomes. Nicolette's passion is helping teachers break down the standards and implement effective strategies that will support all learners and helping teachers realize that they are rockstars.

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