Introduce Your Child to New Teachers & Providers with a Vision Statement & an IEP at a Glance
With kids heading back to school, you probably have a lot on your mind, especially with how out-of-the-ordinary (to say the least!) the last year and a half has been. You and your child will both need time to reacclimate to yet another “new normal” and get back into the routine of in-person learning. To help new teachers and providers get to know your child — and their strengths and needs — more quickly, we’ve created two templates to help you introduce them: a vision statement to outline what your child needs to make progress toward their goals, and an “IEP at a glance,” which is like a cheat sheet for the much longer document that many school-based providers won’t have had time to read in detail.
Introductory letter/vision statement
Even if your child’s teacher is the same one with whom they spent their virtual year, both teacher and kid will still be getting to know one another in a vastly different environment. To give teachers and service providers a head start, we recommend writing an introductory letter, or vision statement, that outlines what your child needs for success. This will help your child’s care team get to know their strengths, interests, and goals, as well as your (and their!) vision for their future.
A vision statement can help the adults in your child’s life focus on long-term goals that can shape your child’s current learning objectives. It’s a good idea to include which strategies work for your child and which ones don’t. For example, if your child is overwhelmed by having too many words on a single page, it will be beneficial for the teacher to know this so they can break the work down into smaller chunks. Not least, knowing your child’s interests means the IEP team has an inside view on how to make therapy and work sessions more engaging for them, and therefore more productive.
By creating and sharing a vision statement, your child’s teachers, school-based therapists, and IEP team has the opportunity to see them as the whole, unique child that they are. It can be helpful to provide a copy to every adult your child will be working with during the school year.
IEP at a glance
Another useful document we recommend creating and sharing with your child’s team is an IEP at a glance, which can include your child’s diagnosis, services, accommodations, supports, IEP goals, and contact information for the people on your child’s care team; in other words, it breaks down the most important parts of your child’s IEP into an easy-to-read one-pager. Our Care Navigators prepare this summary for new clients using the child's IEP (contact your Navigator if you'd like this service, or sign up for a free 30-day trial to get started with one!). If you're writing it yourself, check out our template here to create your own!
Sharing this information at the beginning of the year can help your child have a more positive, meaningful experience with providers who will be working with them (and may not know them yet).
Giving your child’s teachers and service providers a quick overview of their IEP can also help keep them accountable. If you find that accommodations are not being met, you can use this document to prove that the teacher or provider was aware of the most important provisions of your child’s IEP.
How are you feeling about the new school year? Do you have any concerns about reacclimating to an in-person environment? Let us know in the comments!