Guest Report by Jen Potts, Founder/Consultant, Evergreen Teaching
From the very beginning it’s natural for all parents to compare our children to others, but have you noticed if your child may developing at a different rate than their peers? Have you concerns that your child may have learning, behavior or speech and language challenges? Maybe your child’s teacher has raised some red flags or your child has received a diagnosis and you’re looking for more information or support? Or perhaps you’re moving to Prague and wondering if your child will be able to receive the additional services he or she needs. Where do you turn?
Finding professionals that can help you answer your questions can be difficult in a new international community. Attaining the appropriate services for your at-risk or special-needs child can also be a challenge for expat and international families in Prague. If your child does not attend a Czech public school and does not speak Czech, you are faced with finding professional help in a language your child speaks (most often English).
You can talk to your doctor, to other parents, to your child’s teacher, or to his/her school. You can do research on the internet or read books. These can all be very helpful resources. But often, you may simply not know where to start, or are looking for a qualified professional to guide you in the right direction.
While teaching at international schools in Prague, I noticed families struggling on their own to address issues such as challenging behavior, speech and language delays, learning difficulties, emotional disturbance, and developmental irregularities. Often, there was a lack of consistency in communication and information amongst health care providers, school staff, and parents. As a U.S. certified special education teacher, I decided to help fill this need and began a special education consulting service here in Prague.
In collaboration with my partner Nancy Winstead, MS-CCC, a licensed American speech-language pathologist, we at Evergreen Teaching serve English-speaking children, as well as their families, schools, and communities. (Some services are also available in Spanish.) Our goal is to ensure that every child and family within this population has the opportunity to receive the support they need through:
- Private consultations and/or one-on-one sessions in the home environment
- In-school support for the child’s educational team
- Enhancing the overall quality of special education services provided in schools
- Connection to a network of trained professionals in related fields
Below are some basic points on this topic that parents should be aware of:
If you suspect that your child may require special support, it is crucial to reach out to trained professionals who can 1) help determine if your child does in fact have a disability, and identify the correct diagnosis; and 2) provide you with the best information regarding your options and next steps. If you know for sure what you’re dealing with, you can address it most effectively and prevent unnecessary stress on the whole family.
If you are already aware that your child has additional needs, it is necessary that the child’s entire team of caregivers (family members, teachers, doctors, child care providers, etc.) are all on the same page about what is best for your little one. Consistency of care is a crucial element of managing virtually all disabilities, and every member of the team should be informed about what works and doesn’t work in terms of your child’s learning, behavior, communication, and overall development and well-being.
Most importantly, you’re not alone! There is a community of trained, English-speaking special-needs support providers here in Prague—such as behavior specialists, speech therapists, music therapists, occupational therapists, and psychologists. Please reach out to us, we are happy to help.
COMPANY: Evergreen Teaching, Jen Potts & Nancy Winstead
FURTHER INFORMATION: http://www.specialeducationprague.com