As school-based clinicians, it is known that communication with the student’s family members is very important. But realistically, it is hard to find the time to communicate with each student’s family consistently and effectively. There are many methods and tools out there that can make communication with family members easier and more manageable. One way is utilizing newsletters.
Newsletters are a nice way to informally communicate with family members and to encourage them to connect with the clinician if they are having any questions or concerns. Newsletters are an efficient way to increase lines of communication for the clinician as they only have to write and create one copy and it can be distributed to each student’s family. Newsletters can be sent out at any frequency which is deemed manageable by the clinician. One suggestion is to send out Newsletters at the beginning of the year as an introduction and then before long breaks from school. This allows the clinician to provide suggestions and advice on how to continue targeting and working on skills during the long breaks away from school. This facilitates and encourages the carryover of skills into their naturalistic environment.
Some tips for creating Newsletters:
Newsletters should be colorful and engaging to invite the family to read it.
Newsletters should be written in parent/family friendly wording to ensure understanding of information.
It is a good idea to include contact information to encourage discussion if the parent/family member has any questions about the implementation of strategies.
Newsletters should include visuals and pictures to assist in the comprehension of information.
Newsletters should be general to allow the information to be applicable to all students on the clinician’s caseload.
Some information that can be included in the Newsletter is:
An introduction of the clinician
The responsibilities and services that will be provided by the clinician
Recommendations for targeting goals/objectives within the home environment
Carryover strategies to increase practice and implementation of skills within the home environment
Fun games and activities that target skills
This is just one tool that can be added to the toolkit to increase and improve communication with parents and family members. There are a lot of platforms and programs that help with communicating with parents and family members, but hopefully, this is a simple tool that can be easily implemented to increase family engagement in services.