Over the years, I have both volunteered and worked as a teacher’s aide in various classrooms. I have several relatives and friends who are special education teachers.
Many children in special education programs have genetic conditions and I am always surprised at how little many teachers know about genetics. This prevents them from understanding how they can work with their students in the best ways. This prevents them from understanding what sort of medical issues each child might have and how to watch for red flags. This also causes miscommunication between parents and teachers.
When I am able to explain what a genetic condition is to a teacher, I see a difference in their teaching approach. They become more accepting and set realistic goals their students can achieve. Those goals are usually set higher.
Teachers continue to see the child for who he/she is and do not allow the genetic condition to define their student. Instead, they have a better understanding why certain behavior or medical issues may arise and are more prepared for those issues. This in turn creates less stress for the student and parents.
This also leads to improved communication between parents and teachers.
Parents enjoy being able to talk openly about concerns to someone who understands and knows their child.
Teachers also have a lot to teach us genetic professionals, I know this from personal experiences.
Should genetic professionals explore ways for making resources about genetics more accessible for teachers? If so, how?