Family Situation

As well as culture there are other things that may be affect how the parents speak to you. In the lesson ‘About SEND Parents’, we touched on some of the additional issues facing SEND parents. Here we expand on a couple of those and raise some other things to think about: 

6. The person you talk to may not be the caregiver

Be aware that the parents might not be the main caregivers at home. Grandparents or other family members might be the people who look after the child most often. 

Solution: Find out who spends most time with the child at home. For example, you can ask who does homework/ therapies with them. Invite them to any meetings about the child, along with the parents. This way to ensure they receive any information you want to share, and you get a more rounded understanding of the child. 

Two blue characters are standing hand in hand. One is a child, looking up at the adult who has grey hair and a top that has the word 'gran' on it.

7Financial issues 

Families of children with children SEND often have additional costs.

Here are a few examples of why the extra money is  needed: 

  1. Adapting the house
  2. Buying specialised clothing 
  3. Paying for special equipment/ specific toys or items
  4. Paying for therapies
  5. paying for carers/ respite care

Solution: Keep in mind the ability of parents to contribute to class activities and fund-raising events. 

8.  Sleep and behaviour problems 

Behaviour problems at school are often repeated or can be even worse at home. In addition, when specialised feeds or medications need to be given at specific times, it often means the parents get a broken night’s sleep. It is hard to relax or find time for a break when your child’s needs are significant and constant. This can lead to parents coming across as tense and unfriendly. 

Solution: Remain open and understanding at all times. Try not to take bad tempered exchanges personally.

2 blue characters standing. A small child is screaming, her eyes are closed, mouth is wide open and her fists are clenched by her sides. The parent is standing next to her with their head in their hand, eyes closed and a tear running down their cheek.

8. Relationships can be strained

Having a family member with specific needs can change the dynamics of relationships. Additional worries, place additional strain and incidences of divorce are higher in families with SEND children.  Strained relationships can lead to parents coming across as tense and unfriendly. 

Solution: Remain open and understanding at all times. Try not to take bad tempered exchanges personally. 


9. Hopes for the future.

Parents have different expectations for their children and parents of children with additional needs may have very different expectations.  It is very important for the school to understand what these expectations are. Parents may see life skills as more important than academic skills, as this may help the child and parents day to day and lead to greater independence. Others may have high expectations and are determined to work with you to achieve those goals.

In order to enhance he parent/school relationship is important to understand these expectations and manage them, where necessary.

Solution: Ask the parents their hopes and dreams for their child.

A blue character kneels down to talk to a blue child. He has his hand on the child's shoulder. Both characters are smiling and looking relaxed.

10. Support services

Parents can often crave information and, while social media is helpful, if you or the school has any direct knowledge of local services, that is always invaluable. 

Solution: Share any support services that you know of and that you feel are relevant to the parents

Key Learning Points

– As with any household, there are multiple pressures on the SEND parents but often these pressures are amplified.

Discussion points

~ How much do you know about your pupil’s family?

~ What information do you have that the parents might find helpful?

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