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Back to School: Communicating with Your School

The 2014 – 2015 school year is upon us!
NF1 is the most common disorder you’ve probably never heard of–that is what we tell people the first time they learn about NF1. Because NF1 is not a commonly known disorder, it is likely that the teachers and school administrators at your school also have not heard about it. In these cases, it can be challenging for both parents and children to receive the supports they need in order to make the school year run smoothly. Here are some tips on how to communicate effectively with your school in order to help your child have a successful year.
The more you can educate teachers and administrators about what NF1 is, the better equipped they will be to handle any issues your child may encounter. We provide a range of educational brochures covering features of NF1 from birth through adulthood. We highly recommend that families share these pamphlets with their teachers and administrators as a way to introduce them to NF1. Feel free to download and print them out or to email them.
Know Your Rights
The public school system is required to provide developmental screening to any family who requests it. Developmental screening is necessary if you want your child to receive services such as speech therapy or preferential seating in the school setting. Sometimes the school will say a child does not qualify for therapy services because the screen conducted did not reveal any significant delays. In the event that your school says your child does not qualify for services, you have the right to file a formal complaint with the Missouri Department of Special Education (phone number 573.751.4212) to pursue further testing. To learn more, please read our handout.
Know Your Goals
Take time to work with your child and his or her teachers and administrators to make it clear what your goals for your child are. Having clear goals will help educators guide your child throughout the year. In the case that your child has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), your child’s team should schedule regular meetings to ensure that goals are being set and met on a regular basis.