In the "Three-legged Stool Theory" of educating a child with neurobehavioral conditions, the three legs or supports are the school personnel, the parents, and the treating professionals. If you are struggling with a student, are all three supports in place?
- The teacher supports the child, and supports the parents in service of the child.
- The teacher also needs the support of the parents and treating professionals, as well as the support of the building administrator, other school personnel, and district personnel.
- The parents support the child, and support the teachers in service of the child.
- The parents also need the support of the teachers and treating professionals.
- The treating professionals support the child and support the parents and teachers in service of the child.
- They need the input from the teachers as well as from the parents since they cannot see what their patient looks like under the structure and stress of the school setting.
THE MISSING LINK?
While school personnel frequently communicate with parents, they all too often fail to establish collaborative relationships with the treating professionals.
If you have a student with significant behavioral features, are you talking to the child's treating clinicians to get their input and to share your observations and concerns with them? As a treating clinician, I always welcome input from my young patients' teachers. When possible, I will address issues in therapy that school personnel raise, and at times, I can give school personnel strategies to try in school to address symptoms or problem behaviors. And as a consultant to school districts, one of the first things I always do is speak with the parents to ask them to allow the school direct communication with the treating professionals.