Hot Topics     Home and Family     K-12     Education Guide    

Communicating with the teacher of your child with special needs



Remote learning makes clear and regular contact essential

Remote learning makes clear and regular contact essential


From advocacy to providing specific information about your child, it's important to maintain parent-teacher communication to support the remote learning process. Educational consultant Barbara Darrigo, MS, of Wappingers Falls, NY, provides these tips for talking to teachers.

Set up a schedule.

Establish a regular check-in time with your child's primary teacher so you can work through problems and adjust plans, which are likely to need changing as the school year progresses. Make sure the teacher and other school staff know the best time of day and the best way to reach you, whether phone, email, or text.

Describe your home situation.

Teachers can be more helpful if they know about parents' work schedules, siblings' school schedules, and what stresses your family may under, including child care, finances, or family members with health issues.

Specify your child's needs and preferences.

Tell the teacher what learning styles and activities work best for your child: face-to-face interaction, written assignments, incorporating learning into daily life activities, need for breaks or movement. Mention any recent changes you have observed in your child's behavior and their reaction to conditions imposed by the pandemic. Note whether your child functions better in morning or afternoon. Request flexibility in areas that are especially challenging for your child, such as a need for shorter or fewer assignments.


Ask teachers to observe best practices.

Most children with disabilities do best in remote learning if they have virtual face-to-face interactions with their teachers. Through video, teachers can pick up verbal and physical cues in order to judge your child’s confidence and understanding of class material. Online information should be presented in a variety of formats, and students need different ways of responding and showing that they understand. Encourage teachers to maintain variety by incorporating Universal Design for Learning (UDL) standards into their online instruction.

Assert your child's rights.

Despite the limitations of COVID-19, your child has a right to a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. School staff are still figuring out how to adapt instructional methods to remote learning, so have patience, but don't give up. Your participation is essential to the process of working out how to give children an education under difficult circumstances.

 Information for this article was presented by Barbara Darrigo, M.S. to a group that participates in a Facebook online forum.

For four years Barbara Darrigo was a principal of an inner-city public school, coupled with over 20 years as a special educator. In her role as an educator, she has provided educational support for children, as well as professional development for families, educators and school communities.

After retiring in 2015, Barbara was employed by the Roslyn Public School District on Long Island where she lent her support to students and staff members. In 2019, Barbara moved back to the Hudson Valley where she once lived.

Barbara can be reached at eduhelp111@gmail.com



Other articles by HVP News Reporters


  • 5 tips to help you land a new job

    A solid interview can help you close the deal

    With so many job openings these days, you may think you’ll have an easy time sliding into a new role. Not so fast. Because of the huge number of options available and plenty of workers contemplating changes, you’re likely to encounter some competition to land the job you want. read more »
  • Healthy habits for your home

    5 tips to help you out

    If you’re like most Americans, health is an important aspect of your resolutions when each new year rolls around. While factors like diet and exercise are keys to healthy living, so are the ways you care for your home and belongings. read more »
  • 5 heart health tips for the holidays

    Keep your family safe during this festive season

    Food, drinks, gifts and time with family make the holidays a merry occasion for people across the country. However, all that celebrating can sometimes become a distraction from maintaining heart health. read more »
  • 10 health resolutions doctors encourage you to make today

    These actions you can take are some of the most important

    The New Year represents a fresh start and is the perfect time to invest in your health. However, you may be unsure what resolutions will have the biggest impact. Doctors say that the easy, tangible actions you take are some of the most important. read more »
  • 4 reasons to consider adopting a pet

    Pets can be a key source of comfort and joy

    More than 23 million American households added a four-legged family member over the last three years, according to data from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Through these trying times, pets have been a key source of comfort and joy – even improving pet parents’ overall wellbeing. read more »
  • Make a difference for children globally this holiday season

    Your gift can make a real impact for a child

    The most meaningful gifts are rarely the ones that can be wrapped and found under a tree. This holiday season, gifts can go beyond just thoughtful presents for family, friends and loved ones and can make real impact for children globally. read more »
  • Must-have tools for entertaining with ease this holiday season

    Having the right tools will set you up for success

    ‘Tis the season for gatherings galore. Whether you’re an all-star entertainer or a first-time host, having the right tools will set you up for success—meaning you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time with loved ones. read more »
  • 5 tips to ace college entry exams

    Prepping for ACT and SAT exams is crucial

    Because most colleges and universities require applicants to submit ACT or SAT results as part of admissions consideration, prepping for the test itself can be a critical component of that process. read more »
  • Fun ways to foster a love of music at an early age

    4 great ways to get your kids interested

    It’s never too early to encourage children to love to make and appreciate music. read more »
  • Festive recipes for hosting an inclusive holiday gathering

    2 delicious recipes for you to try

    Memories made and recipes shared are the trademarks of a successful holiday gathering, and this year, you can host your way to a practically perfect party with delicious dishes that resonate with the flavors of the season. read more »