As kids head back to school, parents have their own learning curve to navigate when it comes to forging a solid relationship with their child\u2019s teacher. This is especially true for parents of kids on the autism spectrum, who often have a whole team of teachers, therapists and other support staff involved in their education, which can make keeping everyone on the same page seem like a daunting task. \u201cI think the most important thing to realize is that it\u2019s a two-way street, and both the parents and the school staff need to go in with an open\u00a0mind,\u201d says Randee Kleeman, a Speech Language Pathologist and Autism Team Member with Zionsville Community Schools. \u201cRelationship building is so important, and there has to be effort on both sides.\u201d Open and regular communication between home and school is crucial to building those partnerships, experts stress, and focusing on the positives, while keeping the teacher in the know, can go a long way, too. Indy\u2019s Child\u00a0asked autism experts from Indy-area school districts to share their best tips to help parents start the school year off right: What can parents do right away to help lay the groundwork for a good relationship with their child\u2019s teacher? Kris Baker, Autism Consultant, Johnson County and surrounding schools: \u201cIt\u2019s always helpful for the teacher to understand more about what makes each kid tick and how their autism affects their life, both positively and negatively. Request a meeting at the beginning of the year to start out that positive communication, and consider making an info sheet about your child.\u201d Cheryl Boucher, Occupational Therapist, Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township: \u201cThough the student may have an IEP (Individualized Education Program) with important personal information included, share a small list of helpful info about your child such as sleep habits, eating, medications and side effects, strengths, challenges, fears and motivators.\u201d Kleeman: \u201cEven if you\u2019ve worked with this teacher and team before, there\u2019s a lot of development that can happen over the summer. Recap for the team, and let the teacher know if you\u2019ve been using a new system at home that\u2019s worked for you.\u201d What should parents consider when setting up regular communication? Lisa Peterson, Occupational Therapist, Brownsburg Community School Corporation:\u00a0\u201cIt\u2019s important to discuss how often the parents expect updates and how the teacher prefers to communicate. Some teachers may only be able to check their email a few times a day, so they\u2019d rather you call, while for others, that can disrupt their day, so they\u2019d rather communicate via email.\u201d Kleeman:\u00a0\u201cAs a parent, don\u2019t be afraid to tell your child\u2019s teacher, \u2018If my daughter has a good day, will you let me know that? It\u2019s hard for me as a mom not to hear from you for three weeks, and then hear that she bit someone.\u2019 And remember, we still have telephones! Email and texts are convenient, but some of that nonverbal communication gets lost, and feelings can get hurt.\u201d What kinds of things should parents bring up with their child\u2019s teacher and team? Baker: \u201cWe always appreciate our parents who are early to give us a heads up if something changes, like if the child is sick or is extra anxious about an upcoming dentist appointment.\u201d Boucher: \u201cDepending on your child's needs, such as limited communication, it may be helpful to take pictures at home and send to your\u00a0teacher of things your family did during the summer, or take pictures over the weekend, which may help with conversation, interests, writing or reading at school.\u201d Kleeman:\u00a0\u201cBe really intentional about what the school is doing well, and realize that successes for your child are going to look different. Maybe\u00a0staying in the classroom for ten\u00a0minutes during math and then taking an iPad break is big, so let\u2019s celebrate!\u00a0Approaching staff about all the good things they\u2019re doing and then asking about something you\u2019re concerned about is a good way to start.\u201d Ready to start the new year off on the right foot?\u00a0By being proactive and keeping communication open, positive and consistent, parents can help create strong relationships with their child\u2019s teachers.\u00a0For additional information,\u00a0the\u00a0Indiana Resource Center for Autism\u00a0has a comprehensive guide to help prepare parents for the school year, including tips and printables\u00a0at\u00a0www.iidc.indiana.edu\/index.php?pageId3568.