Do you wonder about the most common mistakes that parents make in advocating for their child, receiving special education services? Would you like to be an effective advocate for your child with autism, and avoid these mistakes? This article will discuss 5 common mistakes that parents make in advocating for their child and how you can avoid them.
1. Letting emotions get the best of you! Many parents are unable to control their anger which gets in the way of their advocacy for their child.
2. Forgetting your inner voice! A lot of parents give too much weight to what some special education personnel say, rather than following their instincts.
3. Accepting lies from some special education personnel without challenging them. It is important to have a working knowledge of the federal and state special education laws so that you can recognize when you are being lied to!
4. Using the B word, when trying to get an education for your child! The B word is Best! The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) states that children have the right to a free appropriate public education; not the best.
5. Allowing special education personnel to continue year after year of not giving your child an appropriate education. Your child’s life will be ruined if you do not advocate every year for the education that they need.
How to avoid these common mistakes:
1. If you are in an IEP meeting and find yourself getting angry ask for a break. Remember that the first person that loses their cool usually loses the fight. Stay calm no matter what! Find other parents that you can talk about your experiences with, this will help you keep focus and calm!
2. Always trust your instincts. If special education personnel are telling you something about your child that you does not seem right to you, start investigating. Possibly get an independent evaluation to help you determine if the school is being truthful!
3. If school personnel say something to you that does not sound right say: Show me in the federal or state special education laws where it says that you are allowed to do this! Always stand up to them in an assertive and persistent way, for the good of your child.
4. Always use the word appropriate, not best when advocating for your child.
5. If your school district refuses to give your child the special education services they need, consider an independent evaluation. If the independent evaluator states that your child needs the service, but the school district still refuses consider filing a state complaint or for a due process hearing Most special education personnel will continue denying services if the parent does not stand up to them.
If you follow these 5 things to avoid you will well be on your way to being an effective advocate for your child.
Some of these definitions are set by the states, and the federal government decides some. Regardless of what type of disability your child has, special education is the best way to ensure that your child is getting the education that your child deserves.
Without special education services, your child may be at a disadvantage. Even with a caring and patient teacher, many children find themselves unable to keep up with their peers in the classroom.
Setting out a clear and fair special education plan will give you, your child and the school the assurance that appropriate measures are being taken on your child’s behalf in the classroom. These may include additional time with a teacher or special education facilitator, physical accommodations, or any other reasonable accommodation that the school is able to offer.
When seeking special education arrangements for your child, your first step will be to obtain an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for him. An IEP should be developed for each child with any disability and is the single most important piece of documentation in your quest for equal education for your child. It outlines goals and objectives for the student, along with a description of which accommodations will be necessary to facilitate those objectives.
The IEP process begins when you or your child’s teacher notice that the child is struggling in school. The concerned party will request a referral for special education services, which typically will result in an evaluation by a committee comprised of school faculty and you. The evaluation will determine whether your child’s disabilities interfere with his educational experience. If so, an IEP will be developed.
When the IEP is in place, your child will have access to the special education services covered by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Under IDEA, your child is entitled to an education equivalent to that of a child without disabilities in the least restrictive environment possible.
The Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) mandate is the result of many years of studies. The conclusion of these studies was that special needs children are better served in the classroom with their peers than in a segregated classroom environment. The practices of pull-out programs, separate “special-ed” rooms, and the stigma of being a “special-ed kid” have changed radically in the past decade.
Children are now encouraged to flourish first in the regular classroom, with accommodations and modifications if necessary. If it becomes clear that this setup is not in the best interest of the child, the school or the parent may request a re-evaluation of the situation.
Recent studies have proven beyond a doubt that children with disabilities have more opportunities to thrive when they are educated in the same environment as non-disabled children. Observing and interacting with other children helps students with disabilities to maintain a sense of normalcy and develop their social skills. An inclusive classroom, one that includes special needs and non-special needs students, can also help the non-special needs students develop valuable social skills.
By taking down the barriers between disabled students and non-disabled students, IDEA has made the special education environment a more nurturing and beneficial place for your child to receive the education your child is entitled to. There is no longer any need to be nervous about the negative impact that special education will have on your child because the process has been refined to be as positive as possible.