Monday, September 3, 2012

Special Education

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.
Mistakes:
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.

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