As children with special needs reach school age, they often must adjust to life in a classroom, and to new interactions with peers, teachers and specialists. To help special needs families prepare to enter the school system, here is a list of questions parents should ask teachers and staff, compiled by special education expert Kathleen Kiniry:
• What is the class ratio (teacher/adult to students)?
• How will we communicate?
• I’m a working parent. Is there some way I can help?
• Where is the classroom located?
• Who provides transportation? What are the pick up and drop off times?
• Can we meet again?
• How will you measure progress?
• What do I need to supply?
• What safety systems are in place for children who are nonverbal, intellectually disabled, etc.?
• Are there nurse services?
• What types of training have teachers and support staff received?
Kathleen Kiniry M.Ed. is a seasoned special education professional. She has been a special education teacher working with students from preschool to high school, including many years in Dorchester County District 2 schools. She also served as a district-level special education coordinator in the area of compliance, curriculum, and response to intervention. Kiniry is now an educational consultant working with school districts to provide training and coaching to administrators, as well as general and special education teachers.