English Learners (ELs)

Encouraging Family Communication

by Jennifer Alicandri

1. Parents should be a part of the focus, and they should feel cared for, just like their child. Interestingly, the article reveals that the parents interviewed in the autism screening program were more likely to follow through on the medical staff’s recommendations if they were asked specifically how they were doing, too. This enabled a trusting relationship between the parents and staff, and that element was helpful in ensuring follow-through on doctor recommendations.

2. Family communication is determined in part by family and ethnic cultures. Consider these points: parents may not understand important milestones for their children. They may have a different focus (eg. on the physical development as opposed to the language development). Or the behavior of concern is not a concern to the family because it’s within cultural expectations (e.g. pointing, or lack thereof. It may be that any abnormalities will be considered the parent’s fault, resulting in a reluctance to report concerns. It may be that a parent’s culture views teachers as authority figures, and therefore only the teacher can initiate contact. And of course language barriers may make reporting and understanding concerns difficult.

3. Help parents figure out the school system. This is often a new culture in and of itself, piled onto a family already trying to assimilate to their new country’s culture. Anticipate the need to provide explanations, extra support, and connections to other families who have successfully navigated our educational system at the building and district levels.

You can view the full article at this link: http://www.colorincolorado.org/article/51253/?theme=print

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