New and or unfamiliar staff members, including specialist teachers and supply staff, can often find the management of other's classes and individual students more challenging than the regular Prep teacher. This may be due to:
- limited knowledge of the student's individual likes, dislikes, strengths and triggers
- limited knowledge of the student's learning profile and in particular the adjustments, routines and supports which have been successful for that student
- a communication breakdown between the new or unfamiliar staff member and other staff; and/or between the new or unfamiliar staff member and the student
Becoming familiar with new staff members and their teaching methods can be equally or more challenging for students with ASD for a number of reasons, such as:
- student difficulties negotiating changes to the environment and the corresponding rules that apply to that environment
- variations to - or different - routines and expectations for students
- changes to the sensory environment (class may be louder with a different teacher, specialist room has more glare, movement to the music room or oval area is busy, noisy and invasive, new staff member has a louder voice or uses a different perfume)
- individual student's difficulties with predicting and responding flexibly to the changes associated with new or unfamiliar staff members
- student difficulties when learning new or changed routines due to limited opportunities to practise these changed or new routines.
Tips for promoting positive engagement with new or unfamiliar staff provides practical tips that may be useful.
Sharing information with other staff
The following templates may be useful for sharing important information quickly and efficiently with new or unfamiliar staff members, including supply or specialist staff. A range of templates are provided to accommodate the varying expertise, experience and needs of staff members as well as the varying strengths, barriers, routines and supports for individual students.