What parents of children with disabilities need to know and do about their child’s educational program?
I truly believe in the importance of parental involvement in their child’s educational program and, the parents should get more involved in their child school. Your child spends the majority of day in school, and I encourage the families to learn about the resources and possibilities their school offers to their child.
Learn how to advocate for your child in order to get your child’s needs met. Most of the parents are hesitant to inquire information about their child because of their concern about what teachers and staff are thinking about them, concern about their children not being taking care of, or concern about getting blamed for their child disability.
Don’t abdicate your power, trust yourself, you are the one that know your child the best and you are the expert. If you have concerns of your child educational program stay in regular contact with your child’s teacher. Always be friendly and courteous when approaching the teachers or other support staff member. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and insist for an answer.
Know your rights – the school is legally required to provide your child with the support needed and to accommodate your child needs. For more information go to: https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/your-childs-rights
Investigate – Get familiar with the IEP and its terminology to make sure it best serves your child. Keep ongoing dialogue with the teacher throughout the year. If progress can’t be measure and seen, contact the teacher about holding an IEP review meeting. Maybe the IEP goals and objective was not adapted or designed for your child’s needs and, is not properly set for progress. When you are in a meeting with other people who are making decision about your child, can be confusing and overwhelming, and asking question about the IEP learning outcomes might not be on your mind. I encouraged the families to do their homework before the IEP meeting. From my experience working with many amazing families, I always was able to help them with the IEP meetings so; if you have at home therapy, or any other type of services for your child, is best to consult with your home team or other services you might have your child enrolled as well, because they might also be able to help you get ready for the IEP meetings. Sometimes you might be accompanied by your Behavioral Consultant or therapist, and they might be able to help you but; the best approach is to get informed and get ready. Create a notebook for yourself and have all your concerns and questions written down and, at the IEP meetings use your notebook to help you remember what to ask and to get the information you need to know. During the meeting write down all the key points you need to remember at later time. Keep track of all the meetings and conferences during the year. The more you get involved in your child’s education curriculum, the more progress you will see in your child.