“I think the relationships are the most important thing. Being aware that there often is not funding allocated for each child, but knowing that you can advocate anyway. Expecting that things might go smoothly for a while and then you may need to revisit certain strategies or change strategies.”
Lisa, mother of Jake
Even with the best planning, there may be times when challenges or issues arise which require additional thought, discussion and input from different team members.
You can discuss concerns and come up with solutions with the school by:
- having some hope that the situation can improve
- being able to move forward from feeling overwhelmed by the situation
- taking some time to think through how to express what you want to say
- being able to look past a specific issue and look towards making a plan
Here is an outline to help you to assess the reasons for problems, tackle challenges and come up with possible solutions.
It may help to consider the issue at hand in relation to this "SOLUTION" acronym:
Start with what is happening now?
- What is the challenge?
- need to work on additional skills at home or individual opportunities with our child to support learning at school
- need for training for school staff?
- If there are many challenges, it may help to start with the one which is impacting most at the moment
- What strategies are already in place?
- What has worked in the past for your child?
- Similar concerns may have arisen in the past, and there may be some strategies which have helped previously
Observe and outline what is working and what could be adapted.
- observation may involve the class teacher and/or other professionals
- an early childhood intervention (ECI) professional who is part of your team may be able to observe your child
- observation notes should include an outline of what is currently happening in the classroom or playground when the issue of concern is happening
- if the concern is a behavioural issue, notes should include what is happening before the behaviour and after the behaviour usually occurs. This helps to identify any patterns, triggers and accidental rewards for the behaviour
Listen to all involved and get some different perspectives.
- it is important to listen to what all parties have to say and make sure they feel heard
- it can be helpful to allow others to express their concerns without blaming
- by listening and gathering information from different people, it becomes easier to see the big picture and identify how to move forward
Understand the problem and be realistic about what can be changed
- gathering information about a particular challenge and why it may be occurring, helps to understand the problem
- understanding the nature of a problem can help to find a solution
- it is important to be realistic about what strategies can be used
Tactics and strategies
- gather ideas from across your team and brainstorm all possible strategies
Invent and implement a plan to monitor change and progress
- make a plan with a few possible strategies
- work out which strategy should be trialled first
- decide on when to check whether things are improving, before trying other ideas
- write down the plan, including who in the team will be responsible for doing what
Outcome – set an achievable goal or outcome
- think about and write down what positive change you would like to see
- it is important for any goal you set to be as realistic and achievable as possible
- when goals are realistic, they are more likely to succeed and motivate everyone to continue working together.
Now and next
- work out:
- what steps need to be carried out to put your plan into place
- when you will re-visit the goal to check progress
- when to review the plan to see how things are going
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