Questions To Ask Schools And Special Need Teacher In Regards To Your Autistic Child
Training in autism and autism spectrum disorders is required of any teacher who plans to graduate and work in the field of special needs teaching. If they graduated more than thirty years ago, their training should be up to date. As a parent you have every right to question your child’s potential school and what supports are available to help him or her. The following list is a set of must have questions when you meet the special needs and classroom teachers for the first time. (If your child will be mainstreamed, i.e., spends most of the time in a regular classroom versus a special needs classroom, you will want to ask some of these questions of the classroom teacher too).
- What experience do you have supporting children on the autism spectrum?
- What or how many years of teaching experience do you have with autistic children?
- How do you handle behavior issues?
- What do you use to communicate with a non-verbal child with autism?
- Does my child need to be fully potty-trained before entering Kindergarten/ first grade?
- What kind of expectations do you have of my child in your room?
- What do you use to teach children about appropriate social interactions?
- Loud noises/ sensory overstimulation is a problem for my child. Do you provide therapy for this?
- My child is a very picky eater. How do I know he/ she has gotten enough to eat during the day while at school?
- Will my child be expected to do homework?
- How many hours of speech/ OT/ physical/ social therapy will my child have each week?
- How often can I expect to meet with you for IEP changes?
- What is your approach with discipline regarding children on the spectrum?
- Can I get more frequent progress reports to make sure my child is adjusting to school okay?
- Do you work with my child’s strengths as well as those areas that give them trouble?
- How will I know if my child has had a good day/ week/ month? What happens if there is a serious behavior problem?
- Can I visit my child at school? Can I have lunch with them?
- How involved am I allowed to be in my child’s education here?
- Are there extra supports or teachers’ aides in the room to help my child?
- Will my child need to pay for any equipment or supplies to meet their needs while in attendance?
This is the most basic but most relevant set of questions. You may have some questions of your own that are not on this list. Be sure to write them down when you meet your child’s teachers the first time or you might forget them in all of the interruptions you’re likely to encounter in the first meeting.