Communication with parents of SEND children is crucial!
Creating strong parent partnerships has always been a major part of the early years and the EYFS because many of the children are too young to communicate with the parents themselves about their day or any events taking place. Some of the emphasis on feedback unfortunately can become less as children reach preschool age as there are large classes of children which can often mean 30 parents collecting around similar times. Also practitioners in preschools have a crucial role to play in preparing children and parents for school and for this reason some practitioners feel it is important to slowly get the parents accustomed to less in depth feedback on a daily basis.
Children with SEND
It is important that the level of communication between the practitioners and parents of children with SEND remains constant and in depth of a daily basis, this should also be the case for when a child starts school. Many children with SEND are unable to communicate themselves about how there day has been, any problems, what they have eaten and any notices that need sharing.
This is important for continuity of care and so parents can fully meet the needs of the child. For example they may not have eaten their meal at the setting, if the practitioner doesn’t pass this on the child might later on be hungry but be unable to communicate this to their parents, which may mean the parents assume the child has been fed and leave them unintentionally hungry until the next meal is due.
There are other challenges that children with SEND face and it is important that as these arise they are dealt with effectively and communicated well so everyone who comes into contact with the child are aware and no how this is being managed. It is important that everyone is working off the same page in order to achieve the best outcomes for the child and their family.
Multi agency working
Whenever possible and as regularly and necessary all professionals and the parents of a child with SEND should take part in meetings. This is important again for continuity and to discuss progress and concerns. This is particularly useful when there are several different professionals all working together to improve outcomes. Examples of this may include a physiotherapist who needs to show practitioners a specific exercise they should encourage the child to complete, a speech and language therapist who would parents and practitioners to complete particular activities, the parents who have a concern and would like it addressing and the practitioners who would like to report great progress made in achieving points on an IEP. Important information may be lost, miscommunicated or incorrectly completed if all the professionals involved with a child and family did not make regular time to have meetings.
It is also important that not only are meetings held by outside professionals but also with professionals in the same building as well. Sometimes these small communications are forgotten about when these can be the most crucial ones. An example of when this might happen is during a transition phase when a child is due to start the next room. The old key worker and the new key worker as well as the settings SENCO and a speech and language champion may all decide to arrange a meeting to discuss all the child’s individual needs and any support that is already in place and any support that needs to be put into place.
It is important that practitioners and parents are working together to give children with SEND a voice and are also being their voice. Effective communication leads to improved outcomes and happy children and families.