What strategies can I use for partnering and helping the family of a student who has disabilities?

As a classroom teacher, you have critical knowledge and skills that will benefit families of students who have disabilities. Depending on your circumstances, you may find yourself in a position where you have more informal contacts than the other team members with parents and family members. You may have the most face-to-face contact with parents through routine parent conferences, phone calls, school events, and the day-to-day activities of teaching in a classroom.

Factual Information

Your position in a classroom provides the opportunity to develop an effective teacher-parent partnership for the whole team. You can influence how parents see their child in the context of the school environment and establish positive ways for communicating. Parents and families are interested in hearing and learning about their child's friends, interactions with others, and the daily activities in classrooms and how their child participates.

Classroom Activities

  • Consider the ways in which you currently share information about the curriculum and student progress with parents and guardians. Do you share sufficient information for parents and guardians to understand what students are expected to learn and what progress they are making toward those learning outcomes?
  • If you are comfortable, talk with parents and guardians about your current strategies for sharing information. Do they feel the current strategies are sufficient and effective? Is there anything else they would like to know about the curriculum or their child's progress?


  • Talk with your colleagues about strategies they use to communicate with parents.
  • Meet with a special educator in your district to discuss the ways in which information is shared with parents whose child has disabilities. Does the special educator have any advice about additional strategies the district might implement?
  • If there is a parent advocacy group at your school, consider placing home/school communication on a meeting agenda for discussion. Ask parents about their perceptions of home-school communication and what additional knowledge or support might be helpful.

Resources and Links