A sheet or booklet with important information to familiarize staff with your child and facilitate interactions to maximize success.
- It makes me feel more comfortable having staff be familiar with Grace
- They have always appreciated the insight
- When people know Grace better, it enhances their ability to successfully work with her from the start, which makes big difference for her and can reduce frustration on both sides
- Especially with Grace starting the year learning virtually, I anticipated that her teacher would have fewer opportunities to observe and interact with her directly, delaying her ability to best support Grace’s learning
I email the booklet to the team upon being introduced to them; this is usually before the school year starts. But it’s never too late! You’ll always be able to offer insights based on the years you’ve spent with your child versus the hours staff will spend with them, no matter how engaged they are.
Start by deciding what information you want to include. Think of ways you interact with and assist your child that help her/him but may not be apparent to others.
Sections of your booklet may include:
- A note from Parent(s)*
- About me (personal information)
- My family
- Me and my friends
- My favorite things
- Things I don’t like
- Sometimes I need help with
- How I communicate
- When I am upset, you can help me by
- What works for me
- What doesn’t work for me
- How I learn best
- A few other things about me
- Down syndrome facts and fiction*
Some people make a single bulleted information sheet, but unless you’re new here, you know that brevity isn’t my strength! Here’s a condensed version we shared with Grace’s IEP team in the spring to help inform her goals and supports:
Here’s a template for the bulleted sheet in Word and Google Docs [go to “File” -> “Make a Copy”]. If you’re lookin for something a little more visually appealing, I recommend a free account with Canva, an extremely user friendly graphic design platform. The resume templates are a good place to start for this sort of handout.
A note if your child is non-verbal but uses signs and/or gestures
When Grace first went to preschool, she was nonverbal but had many signs. I created a visual dictionary using images from Baby Sign Language.com (below) to help her teachers (who had no experience with DS) communicate with her. I’m not sure if they ever looked at it, but giving it to them at least helped ME feel more comfortable!
Here are templates for that document in PowerPoint and Google Slides; I included some common signs, but more can easily be added. I recommend printing them in 6 slides per page format for distribution.
What did I miss?
What other information do you include in your fact sheets or “about me” stories? Comment below.
*A big shout-out to my good friend Missy for suggesting these sections to me! Love you, girl.