A year or so ago I gave a presentation for people who are training to become special education teachers and to prepare, I asked the parents on the Easy to Love Facebook page what advice they’d give these future teachers. The advice they gave was spot-on – not just for people training to work with kids specifically designated “exceptional,” but for ALL teachers, since most of our kids are mainstreamed.
Here’s the advice. It’s wonderful. Pass it around. Link to it. Print it out. Share.
Children with “invisible” special needs, like ADHD, PDD, SPD, PBD, FASD, OCD, Anxiety, ODD, Autism, Asperger’s, and many others manifest their disabilities behaviorally. It is EASY to blame the parents for these behavioral problems. It is ACCURATE to see these behaviors as a result of their brain dysfunction.
Communicate, communicate, communicate. Communicate! We can’t help if we don’t know what’s going on.
On the flip side, if we over-communicate, cut us some slack. We are not helicopter moms, we are experts in our own children’s special needs. They, and we, are often misinterpreted and we’ve found that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Let us squeak! It’s not nosiness. It’s not pestering. Really, most days, we would much rather say “It’s your school, you handle it, don’t call me”– but we want our kids to be successful. Which means being their best advocates. Which means we call or email as much as is necessary. Continue reading →
A couple of weeks ago I posted here about my twin’s potential transition from coverage under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) and associated Individualized Education Plans (IEP’s) to only Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (504). Does this sound like a mouthful of legal gobbledygook to you? It was to me until my local chapter, Parent to Parent of Whatcom County, loaned me a great resource, From Emotions to Advocacy (2nd edition), by Pam and Pete Wright of the now famous Wrightslaw Website.
This book is exactly what I needed. I have the emotions of special needs parenting covered in spades. But learning about my children’s rights and some of the programs and processes brought a calm I was not expecting.
In November I attended my almost-8-year-old twins’ annual Individualized Education Plan (IEP) review. They have IEP’s because three years ago they qualified under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as developmentally delayed in the areas of social/behavioral and adaptive behavior. Just like many of the families who read and post here, behavior is what our world revolves around, both at home and school. The meeting was productive, attended by their teachers, the principal, the speech pathologist, the occupational therapist (OT), and the special education supervisor. The difficult part of the discussion for me was when the special ed. supervisor broke the news that next fall, when it was time to retest the boys at age 8 ¾, she didn’t expect them to qualify under IDEA. The speech pathologist and OT agreed. (photo courtesy of pathtofatloss.com)
We worked hard and were lucky to get them help in preschool so that when they entered kindergarten, there was an aid in the classroom. In first grade they had daily pull outs to learn social skills and behavior management with a part-time aid in the classroom that also helped other integrated special ed. children. With that early intervention and on-going treatment of their metabolic disorder, my boys have gradually improved. They’ve learned how to manage their sensitivity in a public school setting, and this year we’re working hard to help Tristan learn to manage his generalized anxiety.