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How to Increase Parent Involvement at School

Do you struggle with figuring out how to increase parent involvement at school?  It can be difficult for school-based therapists, teachers and other staff to reach out to parents during the hectic school day.  Parents are an integral part of the special education team. They know the most about their children’s strengths, weaknesses, and personal preferences. Therapists and other school staff need to include parents in all decision making for children.

Do you struggle with figuring out how to increase parent involvement at school?  It can be difficult for school-based therapists, teachers and other staff to reach out to parents during the hectic school day.

Parents are an integral part of the special education team. They know the most about their children’s strengths, weaknesses, and personal preferences. Therapists and other school staff need to include parents in all decision making for children.

For school-based therapists, getting parents involved with occupational and physical therapy at school can be very beneficial for the carryover of therapeutic activities outside of school time. For teachers, parent involvement is critical.  It shows their children that their parents are invested in the education process.

10 Ideas to Increase Parent Involvement at School

1. Offer parent workshops on different topics in the evening.

2. Call home or schedule a meeting to discuss IEP goal development.

3. Host an evening on technology tips offering information on assistive technology to apps.  Not sure where to start?  Check out this resource.

4.  Host a health and fitness night with the benefits of different physical activities and sports.

5.  Have an exploration night – invite families to come and explore new and old equipment and toys that help to carry over therapy goals.

6.  Throw a party.  The students could prepare food and serve it to the parents and families.

7.  Host a family game night.  Play all-inclusive games so that everyone can participate.

8.  Pick different students of the month.  Each month a student can be the star.  Parents can send in pictures and stories about what the child does at home.

9  Put on a show.  Maybe perform an ethnic dance or create musical instruments to play and invite the families to come and watch.

10.  Ask parents to volunteer.  Maybe you need help cutting out materials for a project or creating a piece of adaptive equipment.  Or perhaps, parents would be willing to have a fundraiser to raise money for specialized equipment.

Resources to Help Increase Parent Involvement

Therapeutic Activities for Home and School DOWNLOAD

Therapeutic Activities for Home and School provides pediatric therapists with over forty, uncomplicated, reproducible activity sheets and tips that can be given to parents and teachers. Each activity sheet is written in a simple format with no medical terminology. The therapist is able to simply mark the recommended activities for each child.  By providing parents and teachers with these handy checklists, therapists will be encouraging therapeutic activities throughout the entire day rather than time set aside for traditional home exercise programs.  This book is an essential tool for all school-based therapists to facilitate carryover of therapeutic activities in the home and classroom.

School and Home Communication Forms for Therapists – this digital download collection includes 21 forms to increase communication between school-based therapists, school staff, students and parents.

Tips for Parent Communication

Here are some tips on improving your communication with parents:

1. Always start off a conversation stressing a child’s strengths. No one wants to hear only negative comments.

2. Be very specific about your concerns for their child without using any medical terminology.

3. Do not be judgemental. If the child is the firstborn in a family, parents may not always recognize delays in the child’s development.

4. Be patient. You may be the first person to tell the parents that their child may need some extra help. Give them time to digest the information and schedule a time to talk again.

5. Allow plenty of time for questions. Make sure you have the time to address any questions the parent may have. Do not run off to your next scheduled appointment with unanswered questions.

6. Listen! Make sure you listen to the parent’s comment or concerns. They usually have the best insight into their own child.

Do you struggle with figuring out how to increase parent involvement at school?  It can be difficult for school-based therapists, teachers and other staff to reach out to parents during the hectic school day.  Parents are an integral part of the special education team. They know the most about their children’s strengths, weaknesses, and personal preferences. Therapists and other school staff need to include parents in all decision making for children.