How Are Your Records for the Year So Far?

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I don’t know how you feel about it but I for one was somewhat stunned when I got the call from the school about conference night. It is coming up in mid October for our school system. The call went on to say how to schedule and that there were in person and virtual options available.

I think two things come to mind to me as I got this call and they are:

  1. If you get so caught up in life and doing all that needs done in your days, you can run the very real risk of not keeping an eye on the calendar for notable dates like conference night
  2. Those who have a child with special needs, can find the effort to stay on top of everything even more so than those with neurotypical children.

Why is conference night so important?

To me, when Elizabeth, my daughter with special needs, was young, conference night was our FIRST time to really talk with the teachers about Elizabeth, her needs and her IEP goals. I have since learned the importance of talking with the teachers and the school often and regularly but for many conference night is still their first real talking time.

With COVID and the effects of the pandemic on the world, education is taking quite a hit. From the stress of the pandemic on our children’s mental health to the vast shortage of teachers, our schools and teacher are being challenged daily. Now add in the specific and very real needs our children have and the situation is quite a complicated one.

Now, let’s be honest, working with the schools to meet our children’s needs BEFORE the pandemic was hard work and not always successful. But now the hard work is even harder and this is why conference night can hold so much more weight than it did prior because as parents and caregivers to these children with differing abilities we need to make sure to represent them well, advocate for their needs strongly and make sure that time doesn’t pass by without goals being met

So with regard to conference night:

Prepare ahead of time. Any notes you have made during the first month or so of school are important. That is why I asked the question in the title. These notes of the good, the bad and the wonderful can help you remember details you might have otherwise forgotten and help you plan what you want and NEED to talk to the school about.

Take advantage of the time. Ask your questions.

Review your IEP prior. Make notes of questions or concerns you have.

Bring another set of ears if you are able/allowed. Not always will you remember what all is said’

Ask for another time to continue talking if you can’t cover all the important areas you wanted to.

Don’t feel bad for using every minute of your time. Even if the hallway is filled with the next parents in line.

Good luck as you plan and organize!

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