The Messy Bun Life is excited to have Lara Sandora from Refresh share her reasons for being a special ed room parent with our community today as a guest blogger.
Why you should you consider being a special ed room parent?
Here are four great reasons to think about signing up to be a special ed room parent:
- Because the other class already has one – or three: This is my fifth year as a room parent, for my third teacher, and in most cases, I am the first room parent the teacher has EVER had. Even if I’m not the first, I know that someone in the class of 28 kids will volunteer to send out field trip reminders and sign-ups for class parties. I know that in our special class of six autistic boys everyone is stretched thin, but that investing in our teachers and staff in this way is important.
- Because special education staff can feel left out: Sped staff may be sent to IEP or safety training and miss the camaraderie of slogging through, um, I mean benefitting from, scintillating PD opportunities with the rest of their staff. They may miss staff meetings to run IEPs or miss the staff luncheon because a kid has a meltdown. Providing special supports and treats can help staff feel more connected – and fostering school connection can play a role in reducing staff turnover in schools.
- Because you know what they want: You likely are walking your special needs kid into the classroom every day. And picking them up. And maybe running over in the middle of the day with a change of clothes. You are sitting in hours-long IEP meetings with the special ed staff. In other words, you know your child’s special education staff better than the teacher of your typical kid who you may just wave at a few times a week. Use that knowledge to provide thoughtful supports – and treats.
- Because supporting sped staff shows them how much you appreciate them: No one knows how hard it is to raise a special needs child, except, perhaps, the dedicated professionals who help us raise them from 8 am to 3 pm for 180 days every year. Studies show that sped kids are more likely to be sent to the office or sent home from school than typical kids. Do what you can to support and thank the staff for helping your child maintain in the classroom all day.
Special Ed Room Parent Ideas:
So now that you’re considering being a special ed room parent, here are some ideas for what to do:
- A basket of goodies: While most room parent gigs support one teacher, and maybe an aide, in the world of special education, there is a team. A team approach makes everything possible – so remember that when you shop. I tend to make generous gift baskets, with many small denomination gift cards, individually wrapped themed items, and of course, some Color Street.
- A baked treat: A loaf of something is always appreciated – again, a whole loaf allows for the entire crew to have a slice. Throw in a coffee traveler from your favorite coffee shop and you have done a better job serving the team than showing up with a single latte in a paper sleeve.
- The ice cream bar – again flexible and customizable is key – and this one is great for the end of the year. Include some non-dairy deliciousness like this from Haagen-Dazs, as well as a variety of toppings and cones, and you will have an appreciative staff. (Bonus points if you happen to schedule this on a day the temperature soars!)
So I hope you’ll consider signing up to be a special ed room parent. Comment below if you have been one or plan to be one!
About The Guest Blogger
Lara Sandora helps busy women refresh their styles, their lives, and themselves. She and her husband are both career public school educators who live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Together they are raising two boys, the younger of whom is non-verbal autistic. Her blog, Refresh, provides style tips, recipes and life hacks for busy women – particularly those who parent, educate or care for special needs children. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest, where she is busy planning her next vacation.