Parents of children with special needs often struggle to ensure their children receive all the supports they need. By avoiding these three mistakes, they can make that struggle easier.
1. Ruining your relationship with your children’s school.
Parents won’t help their children if they argue with staff at their children’s school. Remember your children will probably attend that school for several years. Parents are more likely to receive cooperation from school staff if they maintain amicable relationships with them. It is okay to be assertive when asking for supports for your children but avoid being argumentative
An excellent illustration of the difference between being argumentative and assertive can be found by reading these letters to a stranger.
2. Not networking with other parents.
Other parents of children with special needs are a tremendous resource. These parents can provide you with an abundance of information including:
· How different schools are supporting children who have needs similar to your own child
· What teachers and principals at local schools are like
· Tips for IEPs
· Recommendations for medical providers or other professionals
· And how they have solved problems in the past.
Networking is hard work. To meet other parents join a local support group. Talk to other parents when you pick up or drop off your children. Attend PTA meetings. Your work will pay off with the knowledge you acquire.
3. Not being proactive
No one wants their children to reach their potential as much as you do. No one cares for your children as much as you do. Parents shouldn’t wait for the school to take action in support of their children. Parents must be the ones to make things happen for their children! To do this effectively, they must arm themselves with information.
Learn as much as you can about your children’s disabilities and legal rights. Medline is a great starting point for information on medical conditions. Wrightslaw has extensive resources and links explaining special education law in the United States. Armed with this information, parents can request meetings with school personnel to ensure their children are receiving the full supports they are entitled to. Parents should also visit their children’s schools periodically to check their children’s progress and determine if any new issues have arisen at school.