As a parent of a child with learning disabilities, one of my biggest fears is that my son will be isolated from his peers and find it hard to make friends. I'm sure as a parent of a special needs child, you understand my fears completely.
That's why today's blog is so important, especially considering the time of year. As you can tell by the title, we are sharing tips on how to help your child make friends in a special education classroom. I hope the information we are sharing today will help you as much as it has helped my son and me.
Communicate Regularly with the Teacher and School
As soon as possible, schedule a parent-teacher conference with your child's teacher to discuss your concerns and possible steps to ensuring your child will thrive in all aspects—including socially. Let the teacher know you want to be routinely informed of your child's progress in all areas. You should also inform the teacher of the expectations you have for them, as well.
Teachers' primary job is to help your child learn academically, but they should also want and help your child to thrive in all areas. If your child will be in a regular classroom setting but will have the assistance of a special education teacher during certain periods, this can set him or her apart from their peers, which is why its important to take extra measures to help your child feel and be socially accepted, despite of his or her special needs.
Sign Up for Extracurricular Activities
If possible, sign him or her up for an after-school program, be it sports or maybe an art or music class. If you live near a metropolitan area, check around for programs designed for kids with special needs or learning disabilities.
Your child will have a chance to be among other peers with special needs, which can help him or her become comfortable with their own needs, as well as teach them social skills.
Ask your child's teacher about the possibility of hosting organised activities for the children in your child's classroom, and even other special education classes, on a regular occasion. Be sure the activities involve the children working together to solve a problem, so they will have to communicate with one another.
Set a Social Goal for Your Child
Kids with special needs can sometimes be intimidated by other children, out of fear of not being accepted. Sit down with your child and talk with them about how they can get past this fear. Ask them to go to school each day and try to smile and say “hello” to at least one child each day. Each evening, ask your child if they met their goal, and how it made them feel afterwards. As time goes on, increase your child's goal each day or week, and watch their confidence grow.
Does your child have an autism diagnosis?