Parent and teacher teamwork–a must for your child with special needs!

Susan Ellis - head shot

Having two boys on the Autism Spectrum, I am reminded on a daily basis that they have difficulty understanding things the first time being presented. As with most children with Autism (as well as those with Down syndrome, ADHD, or other special needs), visuals and repetition are the best keys to helping them learn.

My boys always have a hard time with auditory processing and giving their complete focus in a typical “gen-ed” classroom.   Even if the teacher presents items visually, all the classroom activity can be overwhelming and lessons don’t “sink in” the first time.

In 2nd grade, subjects like social studies and science tend to become more abstract. This can be very difficult for children with special needs who are typically “concrete” thinkers. I have found great success when I can take just 15 minutes to pre-teach them new material over the weekend.   Reviewing a new concept by reading the chapter together in a quiet room, doing a quick reinforcing activity, or even finding a short video about it online, can make a big difference in their confidence and attentiveness in class on Monday. The repetition of hearing the material again, and in a different way, will also help children better retain this knowledge.

Having an extra copy of your child’s textbooks at home is very helpful for pre-teaching and reviewing throughout the week. Talk with your teachers and ask them to give you the topic and chapter they will be covering the following week. It will be a win-win for everyone.

NOTE: When using our TV Teacher handwriting program, make a copy of the auditory chants we use (located inside the DVD case) and share them among your parent/teacher team. This way, both team members are able to help reinforce the language and correct formation as the child learns to write his letters.

reading with childFor more information about The TV Teacher’s award-winning handwriting programs, please visit our website: