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To the Parent of the Child Who Disrupts the Classroom

Photograph by Getty Images/Hero Images

Having a child with learning disabilities, ADD, autism, behavioral problems, or anything of that nature unquestionably comes with its own set of complications. It has nothing to do with loving them less and everything to do with loving them correctly, in a way that helps them reap the most benefits from living as normal of a life as possible.

For us teachers, we enter into this profession because of our love for inspiring children to learn, and that love encompasses every child, no matter how challenging their behavioral or learning curve may be. Whether we’re a grade school teacher, junior or high school teacher, Sunday school teacher, or even a homeschool mom, we always experience some type of disruption in the classroom.

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From fit throwing and screaming to bullying, breakdowns, and talking back, something is always brewing. And I’m here to tell you, it’s OK. Please don’t be ashamed, scared that I’ll judge (I won’t), or worried that I may not help your child in any way possible (I will). We're on your side.

So here are a few things you can do to help us help your child:

Please let us know before the first class starts.

Alert teachers to any behavioral problems so that we know how to appropriately identify and contain problematic situations when, or hopefully before, they arise. This isn’t so they have a target on their back, but so we can facilitate the best learning environment for your child, and every other child in our classroom. We know it’s uncomfortable to have that conversation. Trust us, we don’t like it any more than you do. But it’s our job to make you feel at ease and assure you that your child will not be singled out in a negative way due to any disabilities or problems.

If we bring some concerns to your attention, please don’t shut down and assume we’re simply telling you how horrible your child has been.

Arm us with the right tools.

Let us in on any tips or tricks that help. If we’re properly equipped, we can stop meltdowns right as they begin. We can ask the right questions and teach in a way that your child understands and responds well to. Our mission is education, and teachers are known for going above and beyond their pay grade because of their love for their students. That includes your child, too! By supplying us with the knowledge we need, we can make sure to do everything in our power to respond appropriately to your kid’s learning or behavioral disability.

Come to us with questions or concerns.

Again, we are not here to judge! If your child feels uncomfortable, singled out, bullied, or like they’re falling behind, that’s our business as much as it is yours. We want to help! There are a lot of rules and regulations we have to abide by, but please realize that we’re always doing the very best we can with the parameters we’ve been given.

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Be open when we need to talk to you.

If we bring some concerns to your attention, please don’t shut down and assume we’re simply telling you how horrible your child has been. Know that we’re trying to facilitate an environment that is healthy for the whole classroom, and sometimes that means addressing situations that are not exactly comfortable for anyone involved. But we hope that by calling to light specific problems, we’ll be able to diffuse future altercations.

Remember, there is always other resources.

If you feel like you’re at your wit’s end, know that there are things you can do beyond the classroom. Whether it’s finding the right after-school care, one-on-one tutoring, talking with the school counselor or developing an at-home routine with homework tailored to your child’s needs, there are options. You can also speak with your doctor about the best methods and resources for your child’s specific learning disability and then form a plan of action based on that information.

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