Teachers and other professionals at school play an integral role as part of your child's treatment team. "Healthy" schools work willingly with parents and with professionals who provide services to a child outside of school. How can parents improve the communication that goes on between a child's teachers and other professionals (pediatrician, occupational therapist, family therapist, etc.)?
First of all, let the folks at the school know it's okay if they talk to other people working with your child, and vice-versa. Sign all the necessary release of information forms, and distribute the names and phone numbers of all care providers.
If your child has special needs or health-related problems, it's likely that there are several people involved in his or her care. None of these folks can do their best work in isolation. This is especially true when there is a need to monitor the side-effects or effectiveness of medication. Help these people help your child by building bridges between and among them. Faxing or hand-carrying written summaries or photocopies of one professional's work to another is one way you can help (and find out what they're saying about your child at the same time!).
Since time is such a valuable commodity for teachers and other professionals, find out the best times for doctors, therapists, and teachers to talk on the phone. Share this information (along with phone, fax, and beeper numbers, or email addresses) with team members. Remember that some teachers and doctors may not have had a lot of experience talking to each other as professionals, so there might be some resistance about making the contact. If you do sense any unwillingness, remember: It's your child they are talking about. So do what you can to help them "get over it."
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