Introduce recorded or read-aloud books on the computer for students who cannot read on their own. is one of many sites offering free titles.

This website is dedicated to promoting inclusive schooling and exploring positive ways of supporting students with autism and other disabilities. Most of my work involves collaborating with schools to create environments, lessons, and experiences that are inclusive, respectful, and accessible for all learners.


Tip 20: Phone Home

Posted on April 20, 2012 in Autism, Collaboration, Families, News

Need adaptations ideas? Want to brainstorm positive behavior supports? Looking for peer-support strategies? Contact the families of your learners with autism and tap into one of the richest resources around. I know so many knowledgeable parents who are never asked for input, advice, or tips.

I also know quite a few teachers who are unsure of how and when to approach parents for help. As a new teacher, I was often nervous that my inexperience would show and that parents would find me clueless on important issues.

Keeping in mind that both parties in a family-school partnership can feel vulnerable at times, teachers and parents should take steps to honor input from one another and to creatively collaborate. Collaboration may mean attending conferences together, trading favorite books and websites, discussing problems, and sharing and celebrating successes.

Want more ideas? Keep in mind that you can get parent input by exploring parent blogs. I visit a LOT of family blogs so I can’t list them all, but here are a few to get you started:

Just a reminder that our giveaway this week is The Autism Checklist. My co-author on this book is John Shouse, a tireless advocate and father of a young man on the spectrum. One of John’s contributions to the book was to remind readers to keep the lines of collaboration open between the classroom and the home. Today’s tip, therefore, is a nod of thanks to John.

Do you have family communication strategies of your own that have helped? Please comment on this post and share with others!


  1. From Rose Striplin on 21 Apr 2012

    I agree with you on that the best resource for help for our autistic children are their own family. As always thank you.

  2. From Sarah Conley on 21 Apr 2012

    As a parent of 2 on the autism spectrum and as a special education teacher, I usually mention that I have ASD children of my own (when appropriate and when the time is right!) and this has helped to open the lines of communication between school and home. As a result, I’ve been able to establish positive relationships with parents of my students and we have been able to share ideas. Ultimately we both benefit from information sharing and our children/students win in the long run!

  3. From Wendy on 22 Apr 2012

    A team environment with our son’s school has worked wonderfully – everyone gives their perspective.

    I like that you visit parent blogs. As a parent I try to read many education/educator blogs. My head swims sometimes, but there is always something to take away.