Getting the Most Out of Parent-Teacher Conferences
Having been in the field for over 16 years, helping children and parents with school related problems, and also having worked closely with teachers, I have learned a few things about parent-teacher conferences. Conference time is just around the corner, and for some it may already be here. These conferences should be seen as a rich opportunity to build understanding and communication between the home and school. Due to budget shortfalls and increasing multiculturalism, teachers are under pressure and overworked. Many parents are also pressed for time, have lingering negative impressions from their own school years, and are apprehensive about what will be discussed during the conference, particularly if their child is struggling. What follows are some suggestions to help make the conference go better:
After you received the notice, schedule your conference as soon as possible within the allotted time blocks (you’ll get better choices). Arrive on time or you’ll forfeit important parts of your allocated time frame and miss key information points. Thank the teacher for their time. As it does for you, appreciation goes a long way to help both you and your child. Do not bring toddlers or babies as they are too big of a distraction. Leave your personal problems at home, unless they directly affect your child’s school experience.
Bring prioritized questions with you to the conference, and make sure they are not already covered in the informational packets sent home. Prior to the meeting, discuss it with your child. Find out what they like or dislike, as well as what they struggle or excel at. Ask the teacher what they think would make the school day go better. Some good questions are, ” Has my child completed assignments regularly?” and “How does my child handle taking tests?”. Other good questions may include, “Have you noticed any changes in my child’s behavior during the year?”, “What areas academically, and in terms of attitude, do they need extra help in at home?”, and “What is my child like during the day?”.
If your child is struggling academically and/or with their behavior, or if they seem isolated, you or their teacher may bring this issue up (which is a good thing to talk about). As parents, we can often be defensive and in denial to these problems, and their possible causes. Remember, both you and teacher are there as your child’s advocates. Be open to this discussion, as it can only help your child. Often these problems are caused by ADHD (Attention Deficit with/without Hyperactivity Disorder) or other learning disabilities. Many parents, believing that medication is the only treatment for this disorder, avoid the appropriate testing and/or treatment because they understandably fear the side effects and rigors associated with the medication. There is, however, an effective alternative to this scenario.
One alternative method to medication is Neurofeedback, a type of biofeedback that utilizes EEG to provide information on brain signaling activity and allows for re-training that lasts for life. This form of treatment mitigates the symptoms of ADHD in a beneficial and side-effect-free manner by re-focusing the thought processes of brain.
For additional information pertaining to Neurofeedback therapy for ADHD or various other disorders, please contact the director of the Alta Neuro-Imaging: Orange County, CA location.
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