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Communication is a two-way street

Effective home-school communication is an essential part of any child's development. Having these positive lines of communication enables pupils to receive consistency with their education, care and support both at home and school. It can aid their learning, development and overall wellbeing.

father-and-daughter-using-ipad.jpgAt the end of the day, parents and teachers are on the same team. Be open and honest as it allows both parties to share their ideas and create better opportunities for the child. Let your child's teacher know if things are different at home as it could be affecting their behaviour or work within the classroom. It provides them with a better understanding of their pupil's needs and requirements so they are better equipped to meet them.

The same goes for teachers - let parents know if your pupil seems to be having difficulties within school or there are areas of concern. This transparency is all about what's best for the child, it could be that something is working at school and not at home or vice versa. Likewise, make them aware of their child's achievements! Boosting children's self-esteem through positive communication with their parents is an incredible motivator.

A vital aspect of creating successful opportunities for children with additional needs is to establish, and maintain, strong and effective relationships between schools and families. This allows them to develop their skills and continue their learning, regardless of whether they are at home or in the classroom. This is of particular importance for children who have difficulties communicating as they need the people around them to be their advocates to pass on information for them. A child may not be able to tell their family what happened at school that day, what they had for lunch, how they felt, what they enjoyed or what caused them distress. This means communication between home and school becomes even more significant.

There are a number of ways that you can use our apps to develop your home-school communication. They are all simple, effective and take no time at all to use, a great bonus for busy teachers and parent rushed off their feet.

Create a visual diary of their day:

With our app Special Stories, you can create visual stories of what your pupil did at school that day. Capture photos of them completing their work, taking part in group tasks, or even snap a photo of what they had for their dinner that day. These social stories can provide such valuable insight for parents, allowing them to communicate with their child in ways that may have previously been very limited.

Creating stories within the school environment can also help children deal with the anxiety of starting school or returning to school after a long break. It can help them to prepare for the change and become gradually comfortable with an environment over time, rather than confronting a strange place for several hours one day at the start of term. You can read more about how to achieve this in our blog post from last month here.

Parents can also create stories of their child's home life, their likes and dislikes, and who is in their family. This gives their school teachers a way to understand them better and know more about their life. William has used Special Stories since primary school and now continues to use it within his secondary school education. His teaching assistants send home a story of the work he has completed in each class during the day, and in turn we create social stories over the weekend so they can see what he has done at home and talk with him about it during the week.

Adapt their homework:

Not every child will be able to complete their homework using traditional methods. Pen and paper isn't for everyone! With our Special Words app, you can adapt the homework you are giving for the week by creating a new word list with all the things you want them to learn at home. Perhaps you want them to learn a new set of vocabulary, about the seasons or specific holidays, even about the Romans or Egyptians.

We have a number of free curriculum resources for you to download into Special Words Pro which can help support your curriculum and with adapting homework into the app. Find out more about the resources we offer here.

Email communication:

Did you know that you can email content from Special Words and Special Stories? It's one of the many ways to transfer content and a great way to communicate with your child's teacher or your pupil's family. You could send a weekly story of what they have achieved or email completed homework back to school. Emailing content from the app is a way to keep communication frequent and immediate. It's better to know what your child has been doing that day rather than waiting for parents' evening!

Are there any ways you have used our apps to help support home-school communication? We really value all your feedback so get in touch with us through email (support@specialiapps.org) or find us on social media (@specialiapps). You can even email your Special Stories to us, we'd love to see them!