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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Summertime Collaboration Time: Work with parents!

Summer is almost here and with it may come an end, or at least a decrease, in services to kids.  While collaboration with parents is key to a child’s success all year round, it is especially important now to work with parents to prevent that “summer slide.”

Students with language disorders need consistent input and intervention all of the time, and most of our parents have gotten pretty darned good at it.  But many would also benefit from and welcome additional tips and tricks, materials, ideas, and ways to keep their kids communicating effectively over the summer.  

And in a true collaborative effort, you will also learn more about this child you see every day  - or twice a week.  Parents know so much about their children.  We may be the “experts” on our field, but they are the expert on their kids.  Share what you know. Share what works and what doesn’t. And share whatever information is going to make this child be successful.

There are  a lot of games, exercises, drills, or tasks we can and do recommend to parents.  I prefer to tell parents to keep on reading to their child, and while reading, look for ways to build language and communication skills.

All kids benefit from being read to.  We all know that.  But sometimes our kids with complex communication needs don’t get as much reading input.  Or our struggling readers are encouraged to read on their own to build fluency, and  miss out on having age appropriate texts read to them.

When collaborating with parents about how to keep language skills growing over the summer, please encourage them to read more.  Give them ideas on ways to ask questions, and ways to interact with text (check out that blog post above for specific examples of question types).

Having a good, strong partnership with parents and truly elaborating has so many benefits for the child.  Ideas that may begin in the classroom have a chance to grow in less structured environments of a summer  vacation.
  Let me know if you have  positive tips for good collaboration efforts.

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