Building good relationships
The relationship the child develops with the teacher aide is a crucial one. As a family having good working relationships with all those involved with your child is essential.
In order to have good relationships there must be mutual respect, belonging and trust. Typically, the focus to ‘belong’ is on the child, but the family/whānau also need to feel they belong. Feeling comfortable, welcomed and valued for their contribution enables family/whānau to fully participate and engage with the school.
From the school’s perspective, having a good relationship with family/whānau fosters learning and wellbeing for the student. It also helps teachers have a better understanding of the child’s needs, interests, and experiences.
Consistency and shared values
There may be several different professionals working with your child at school, as well as those who work with your child outside of school. When working with multiple professionals, they need to:
- share information
- be on the same page
- attend your child’s IEP, and
- take part in regular meetings as needed.
The teacher aide needs to have a diverse range of skills and knowledge, including a good understanding of the core values and principles that underpin good practice when it comes to working with and supporting a disabled child or adult. It is the responsibility of the school to ensure teacher aides have the relevant training they need and that the role of the teacher aide is valued.
It is important to family/whānau that there is an awareness of core values and principles, such as:
The principles that underpin the teacher aide’s practice will impact the way they support your son or daughter. Understanding these core principles can prevent inappropriate support, for example “a child in our local school was a runner so they put her in baby leading reins, and the school didn’t seem to understand why the child’s caregivers were upset”.
One of the greatest challenges for the child and family are judgements made by other students, teachers and the wider school community. Negative ‘stereotyping’ can adversely affect attitudes and can increase the likelihood of isolation of the student (and family). The school needs to have policies and principles that ensure the child (and family) are included in the life of the school and to proactively deal with negative assumptions, stereotyping and bullying.
One way to help with this is to ensure the school has accurate information about your son or daughter. When inaccurate assumptions are made about the child or family this can have a negative impact on the relationship between the home and school. Families tell us that having a ‘trusting relationship’ with the school helps ensure a positive school experience.