Creating Your Child’s Profile
In the “Organize Yourself“ material it was touched on (in item #2), a resource called “All About Me” (a PDF booklet available on the OAFCCD web-site). Particularly for young children who do not yet have the words to self-advocate, this is an excellent way to help teachers, or others (i.e. doctor, dentist, camp staff, recreation centre staff, church, etc.) understand the unique needs of your child.
We highly recommend that you provide this type of information for your child when they are entering into school, or are entering a new situation where people might not know your child.
There is something very powerful about having a document that begins with a picture of your child and sets out some valuable information that a person might not be aware of, particularly in the first days of school, or starting a new year with a new teacher.
The more details you can include that will help your child be successful, the better! Here is a sample letter written by parents of a special needs child to his classmates’ parents. Keep in mind your comfort level (and your child’s) when deciding how much information you wish to share, or how much contact you would like with other parents!
As this new school year begins, we would like to take this opportunity to share with you some of our son Dylan’s special qualities and needs. Dylan is a grade 4 student in your child’s class. He is a bright, creative, and fun-loving boy who has been diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome (TS), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Some of Dylan’s’ vocalizations (tics) are snorts or sniffing, meowing, and sometimes inappropriate words or phrases. He may pull/twirl his own hair or tap walls and desks. These will change over time too.
We have found when people know a little bit about Dylan and can ignore these symptoms they actually decrease in frequency or do not occur. Additional information to explain these neurological disorders are on the back*. Dylan’s symptoms often vary, but for the most part, he appears to be a regular kid, and a good friend. Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. (*not included here)
We are informing you of Dylan’s needs so you can be familiar, and we are looking for your much appreciated support. You can be an important role model for your child. Should at any time over the year, you or your child have a concern, please communicate it to (teacher’s name) at (School name) – phone (519) xxx-xxxx. We appreciate having your information to help Dylan; otherwise he will miss out on an important learning opportunity. Having a neurological condition can be an explanation, but not an excuse, and we expect Dylan to take responsibility for his behaviour. Your child will have the benefit of experiencing a person who is a bit different, they will learn about the value of diversity and tolerance. They will also learn that it’s ok and important to speak up if they have a concern. These are great life lessons to learn at an early age.
As parents we want Dylan to grow up learning and demonstrating the importance of respect and responsibility. It is our hope that he will be happy and that society will become better informed and accepting of people like Dylan.
Dylan had a successful year last year at (School name) with the understanding and help of the dedicated teachers, staff, children and parents. We are looking forward to another successful year.
(Your name), Optional: (Phone), Email).