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Advocating for Your Special Needs Student

August 13, 2015|Posted in: Happy, Healthy, Smart Kids!

Advocating for Your  Special Needs Child

My philosophy is that we all have special needs.  Meaning that we are all unique individuals and each of us has a particular learning style and perform our best in an environment that is optimal for us personally.   Nonetheless, there is a typical environment and atmosphere in average schools and most individuals can function fairly well there.  Some children however do not.  These are the students our schools refer to as having “special needs.”

As a parent you know better than anyone what kind of learning environment best suits your child.  You have the right and ultimately the responsibility to make sure that the school provides  that for your child.  It’s important to communicate with the teachers and administrators at your child’s school.  Their experience, programs, ideas and opinions can have a tremendous positive impact on your student’s education .  Parents, teachers and school officials should work as a cooperative team and good communication is essential.

But if you don’t feel your child’s needs are being addressed in the best possible way.  Don’t be intimidated by the “professionals” and the “way it’s done at their particular school.”  Speak up and insist on the accommodations your child needs.  Maybe they need more time allocated for them to spend with a resource teacher or maybe they are spending too much time away from their main stream classroom.  Maybe they need a modification to the amount homework they are assigned.  Maybe they need someone to assist them in the lunchroom each day or more emphasis in their schoolwork on phonics or multiplication facts.  As a parent, you are the one in the very best position to know what things are the most important to providing the best possible education for your child.

Remember these tips when advocating for your special needs student:

  • Communicate thoroughly and frequently with your child’s teacher(s) and school administrators.
  • Listen to their plans and ideas and know that they have invaluable experience as educators.
  • Always have a spirit of cooperation!
  • Clearly express what accommodations you feel your child needs.
  • Don’t be afraid to insist upon those accommodations when something is very important!
  • If you don’t get the response you need don’t be afraid to follow the chain of command to accomplish your goals.
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