Module 2, Lesson 3: Preparing teachers & Parents
I’m sure everyone at some point has had (or will have) relationships with teachers that start off on the wrong foot and just keep getting worse. SLPs are thought of as miracle workers or babysitters… and everything in between! It is really important to start building rapport at the beginning of the year with your colleagues to make your work life a lot easier. The teachers and staff will be the people that you will be working with closely all year; you need them to know what your roles and responsibilities are (no, it is not to babysit every time that student has a meltdown!). If you already have a great rapport with all staff in your building(s), that’s awesome! If you are new to a building or there are any new teachers, start buttering them up at the beginning of the year
1. Provide foundational knowledge. For some SLPs, it is easiest to provide a handout explaining What is Speech Therapy (download below). I have included a free handout below that you can download and give to your teachers this year.
2. Tell teachers about their speech students. After you have started to build rapport with the teachers, it is time to let them know who their speech students are. I will usually send out an email with the initials of the students in their class that receive my services. You can also write a note or speak to the teachers in person.
Once the teachers know who in their class has an IEP, it is time to start working on your Speech IEPs at a Glance. These are one-page sheets summarizing the students’ IEPs in teacher-friendly language. They include due dates, background information, goal areas, and accommodations. I provide paper and digital copies of IEPs at a Glance and a Cover Letter.
3. Prepare tangible accommodations. Although most teachers that I work with appreciate knowing about the IEP information, very few have the time to hunt down the tangible accommodations (aka Assistive Technology tools) that may be listed on an IEP. To help the teachers out (and build rapport brownie points), I try to gather the objects that a student needs according to his/her IEP. I find a box that will fit the chewies, sensory toys, pencil grips, and social stories, and then put everything inside.
4. Review with teachers. When you meet with the teacher to discuss their individual students, carefully review the accommodations on the IEP at a Glance. Make sure that the teacher understands their responsibility in these. Have the teacher initial by every accommodation, indicating that they know and understand what is expected. Hand them the box of accommodation items that you have gathered. Then make a copy of the initiated “IEP at a Glance”. Give one copy to the teacher and keep the other copy in the students’ files.
5. Touch base with parents. Before school begins, or at the very beginning of the year, create an About Me Letter for Parents. This letter will build rapport. Once you have a schedule, follow up with Your Child’s Speech Days and Times. and handouts about different communication disorders (version 1, version 2).
- Touch base with teachers and start building rapport (this is dependent on the time of the year).
- Fill out IEPs at a Glance for students you case manage.
- Put tangible accommodations in a box for your students.
- Write an About Me letter for parents.
- Share your about me letter with the community!
Link to ROADMAP for all lessons.