Are you the parent of a child with autism or another disability that receives special education services? Have you long wondered if special education personnel are using some type of tactic to pit parents against school personnel, to prevent children from getting needed services? This article will be discussing the Delphi technique that could be used by some school personnel, to control Individual Educational Plan (IEP) meetings, and come up with a predetermined outcome. Also discussed in this article is what the Delphi technique would look like in an IEP setting.
The Delphi technique was initially developed to allow experts in a certain field to come to a consensus without having to come together. It is now used to polarize some members of a group against other members of the group and to make the people not agreeing with the facilitator seem crazy or unreasonable.
The Delphi technique has several steps:
1. The facilitator acts as an organizer of a group of people.
2. The organizer then tries to get each member of the group to explain how they feel about the particular subject; those that agree with the organizer and those that do not agree with the organizer.
Their looking for the leaders, loud mouths, and those that do not have an opinion. They also begin to predict what the response is of every person in the group, to the subject being discussed.
3. Suddenly the leader becomes an agitator, and tries to stir up trouble. The person is trying to put one group’s opinion (their opinion) against another group’s opinion (those with a different opinion). The group that does not agree with the leader is considered ridiculous, crazy or wrong, and the leader makes sure that the people that agree with him or her turn on the group that does not agree with him or her.
4. This method works mainly because people who do not agree with the facilitator do not know that they are being manipulated, and also do not know how to overcome this technique.
The Delphi technique is unethical and should not be used in group situations to pit one group against another.
Here is how it could look like in an IEP meeting:
1. The special education coordinator or facilitator begins the IEP meeting by stating what the issue of the meeting is. For Example: We are here to discuss whether Mark needs a Multi sensory Reading Program in order to learn to read.
2. The coordinator asks everyone’s opinion on the issue being discussed. This person has already decided what their opinion is, and they are trying to find out which member of the group share their opinion.
For Example: The coordinator believes that Mark does not need a multisensory reading program, but will benefit from Reading Recovery. Marks teacher believes that Reading Recovery should be tried, before trying a multi sensory reading program. The parent who has investigated Reading Recovery and has found evidence that it does not work for children with learning disabilities, is pushing for a research based multi sensory reading program. A private reading instructor agrees with Marks mother, that he needs a research based multisensory reading program in order to learn to read.
3. They then start to make the Reading Recovery group seem more knowledgeable and right, than the group that is pushing for the multi sensory reading program. One way to accomplish this is to get the parent and reading instructor angry so that the leader actually begins to look like the victim rather than the parent looking like the victim. The leader may also come up with some reasons why Reading Recovery is better, though the reasons may not make much sense.